George Kittle: Made In Iowa
The. Sunday was every football fans favourite holiday national tight end day. And the forty niners steamrolled new. England patriots they had another solid performance from perhaps the holidays biggest advocate George kibble there's. Days. Inside the twenty just like that before being brought down by Phillips another fifteen. The Athletic Scott Dr Mun has been following kittles since his days at Iowa and he joins us to explain how the star tight end went from a skinny unheralded recruit to one of the best in the game and why he still. So beloved back home you could walk up to anyone. It could be the governor of the state picker up twitter over. or You could talk to the smallest kid on the sidelines. The fact is that he loves Iowa that always endear people from here that he hasn't forgotten his roots. From wondering athletic I'm Davidson and I'm under skelter it's Monday October twenty sixth and this is the lead. It felt like something. Great. Should pass don't matter because. You. Get. There's this isn't a story here. The APP. It stays with you. So Scott let's go back to win a young George Kittle I arrived at the University of Iowa where we're the expectations around him when he first showed up on campus George kiddle was a late signee by late signee I mean he was offered a scholarship day of signing day He took only one visit before signing with Iowa and that was a division one aa a week or state weaver state navy airforce that's about it and I think Kirk called you signing Sunday morning. Afternoon. Wow. So his expectations were very meagre villa last scholarship on the roster, and then when he got to Iowa, he was two hundred pounds really fast however didn't have a lot of meat didn't have a lot of time type skill. So there were some questions as to what position he would play. Would he be a wide receiver tight end and outside linebacker? Even a safety Richard Freshman year was really really helpful and. I. Didn't really. WanNa plan most fruitful tonneins. Really wonderful. Day Twenty. But then they decided let's go ahead and put him at tight end. So you saw this kind of wiry fast a short haired. Zip face kid out there, and by the time he became a second-year player. He started a rotating lineup and so when he first got integrated into the team, how did you adjust to the demands of Division One football George struggled with that early in his career because as everybody kind concedes he was an is the life of the Party and the life of the Party at one of the biggest party institutions anywhere in the country and George fully embraced that scene and he was fifth on the depth chart and he just never really seemed to get. Over the top and that was a problem for George, because he was kind of straddling that image and the party lifestyle with trying to become a football player in the big tent, you recently spoke with some people that were close with George, kill at that time including his tight ends coach, Lavar Woods. What did he tell you about that period in George Kettles life as Lavar Woods told me it really took George some time to get used to being a big ten football player. He struggled early on just adapting to college and college life and then the. Aspect. Of being a big ten football player, he struggled with early on. Times that was partying it was alcohol involved in you know Lavar was on the defensive side of the ball for the first couple of years. So George had two different voices in his head telling him to do different things and it took him a couple of years before he was able to just his mindset and his lifestyle to becoming a football player at the University of. Iowa. So how did George? biddle turn things round a conversation George Kendall had that really changed his life and his career was with Pat Angerer who is a second team? All American, linebacker with guys through two thousand, nine and pat had a similar issue where pat was a partier in his first couple of years and never really got to see the yield I was pretty much like a like a bar drinking. All American you know. Worked hard. Now we did. You know he's worked hard in the weight room on the field and stuff but. I'd burn the candle at both ends and I wasn't good enough to where I could you know balance it both. Really his career was very stagnant much in the way Georgia's was George asked at what can I do get better and what Pat told him was to stop partying as much to really focus on football and how to get better in football I looked myself the mayor was like dumb, ass one. Don't you fix what you're doing and you know start doing things right away and that's kind of what I did and. That's Kinda. How I. You know what I told George is like you know it's not playing, but you kinda gotta look at yourself. Look in the mirror and say, Hey, you know this is what I got to change and. What's Cliche but George listened to Pat and Scott you've also written about how his at that time girlfriend Claire had a hand in his turnaround as well. Can you tell us about that his girlfriend Claire till who's now clerk kill his wife? The first met her when she was pulling out of the moped lied at the University of Iowa and she is a women's basketball player and said something to her because that's just the way. George. Was and George had immense crush on her and what her mom said was Georgia's put the friend zone for eight months according to him. He was really interested in her at the mall many saw her and she wanted nothing to do with him. and. So he will laugh and say that he was in the friend zone for eight months and George really sought after finally after a really tough loss for women's basketball team gets northwestern on Super Bowl. Sunday involving the forty niners ravens no less she finally as they were texting, let George know that. Okay fine. I want Sushi, you know I'll go out with you for that. So he left. From watching the Super Bowl and took her out to downtown Iowa City to dinner on Super Bowl Sunday that was kind of their first going out together doing something together where she finally said Yeah Okay I'll let you take me out to dinner. Well they had a pretty rough break up in his sophomore year and George realized at that point you needed to find out what's most important to him and what he found was most important to him was football and his relationship with Claire. So that's when he turned that corner from being the life of the Iowa City party into channeling into football and his personal life and he and Clara together percents and so once George dialed in and really started focusing on football. What did that do to his performed on the field in? The spring of his junior season of our woods became the tight ends coach and at that point nobody expected George, much of a blocker some run blocking standpoint. I think I don't know a lot of guys really the so they respected George coming off the ball time. So think everyone cut US Georges not dominant and I had a tremendous defensive ending Drouot was a team captains and only an injury kept him from the NFL. Well, on couple of different plays, George Berry, Drouot and blocking drills George, rolling off-the-wall, basically put off the field. and. Then came back and didn't did another one, the same practice I think that sort of let everyone level. This is real overseeing a George and it just showed that okay. Georgia's serious Georgia's here to compete and he was tremendous his junior season in two thousand fifteen. Charge. You. Six touchdown passes to lead the Hawkeyes in two thousand fifteen and lead them to the Rose Bowl that year. So how his career progressed really win in line with how Iowa progress programme in two, thousand, fourteen when. See the feel very much. They won seven games two, thousand fifteen when George was one of the teams to best tight ends of played a lot the hawkeyes twelve. Life can be complicated especially right now, and like a lot of people I know that my family and friends are looking for ways to make our life a little simpler for us we started in the kitchen, and that's where freshly comes in freshly understands that food needs to be delicious healthy and simple with Russia. You can avoid the grocery store and enjoy fully prepared dinners delivered fresh, not frozen right to your door. You can also put your feet up relax freshly chefs and nutrition do all the hard work all you. Need to do is eat food for three minutes and dinner is done imagined better for you. Golden Fried. Chicken. CREAMY SPRINGTIME RISOTTO and fall apart tender beef brisket. 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You've written about how George Hill comes from a family of really high level athletes and they apparently have some fun family gatherings. Can you describe what a family reunion is like? Yeah. They call it Camp Krieger he comes from one of the most. Families. In Iowa history his grandfather Bub Krieger played a little bit for the Chicago Cardinals. But then left right in nineteen forties to raise a family farm and Georgia's mother was an all American basketball player at Drake. University and the cousins and Henry Krieger coble who he teamed up with at the University of Iowa Brad. Carlson is the all time leading home run. Hitter in Iowa history and probably most famous before George is a guidance adjust settles several years older. So when they attend this camp crater, they play wiffle ball and becomes an incredibly competitive match among all of them. But the most fascinating part to me is how George blends in just settles just told me just fits right in unless if he wasn't a player. There's nothing to everybody who's had success just blends in there. Just like everybody else. There's no big timing. There is no, Hey, look at me on all pro tight end for the San Francisco Forty niners it's just the same as it always was earlier you call George Kettle the life of the party is that just what happens when you come from a family as big and boisterous you would think so but no, their personalities are. Very Different Henry Krieger called bullying the tight end who played with is quiet. You can't get a word out of most of the time and when they'd be side by side doing interview sessions and Georgia do the way from layer and and he was just boisterous whereas Henry was always very quiet. I remember the first time I met George biddle he was intern with Casey Rg TV Cedar rapids, and he just walked up to everybody in the newsroom and started shaking hands and high on George Kettle. Football players don't that but that was just the way he's operated, and then when assistant coaches takeover different position groups, they invite groups of players over to their house, and now is the case with Lavar Woods was. The first time. I had the Taivon's over where they let became tight ends coach that came over to my house and She she left saint like who is that skinny kid like man us really Nice Kid. He kept talking to me the whole day the whole time. Who is that guy. George. Kettle she was the one who actually went up to his wife and wasn't afraid to talk or was it standoffish? was other guys are a little bit more quiet come over to coaches is a little bit more reserved George was not that George was ins engaging as any athlete I've ever seen at University of Iowa. It's got you've also written about what a star it'll is back in Iowa and how popular he is there. What is it about him that you think resonate so much with people there his energy he could walk up to anyone and it could be the governor of the. State pick her up, put her over his head or you could talk to the smallest kit on the sidelines. He goes to the Children's hospital and he also talks to anyone and texts people even to this day that you'd think that maybe he's forgotten about. So the fact is that he loves Iowa that always endear people from here that he hasn't forgotten his roots and then the fact that he comes here and he tries to energize people would you step into Kinnock Stadium? You, better be ready. You better be ready for a fight. He comes back to Iowa did a hype video or he was like a wwe announcer are you ready here? We go to fight for. Everything is fun to George and I think having that personality really shines for the People here and lastly, Scott George Kettles a guy who has come a really long ways from being a pretty unheralded recruits who a fifth round draft pick by the forty niners to now the guy that bill belichick considers the best tight end in football he does everything at a high level. Good anybody the that I've coach are good at anybody. We'd fight again. Where do you think he goes from here? With. Good. Health I think George. Continues to be the best tight end in football. He has the potential to become a hall of Famer, and that's something that I don't think any of US expected in the very beginnings have bill belichick say that but he coached one of the greatest tight end rob Gronkowski. It just shows the respect that everyone has for. George. Dental and the fact that his possibilities are limitless. So with good health George catered to become a hall of Famer. got thanks so much for sharing these stories with us. Thank you for having me on. You can read Scott Documents Story About George Kill, and listen to his podcast the big football show at the athletic dot com. From wondering the athletic I'm under scelzo. See You tomorrow. Now, there are more ways to be a team with Microsoft teams bring everyone together in one space with a new virtual room collaborate live drawing sharing and building ideas with everyone on the same page and make sure more of your team is seen and heard with up to forty nine people on screen at once learn more about all the newest teams features at Microsoft. Dot. com slash teams.