Retired Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich, who won two Super Bowls with Bill Belichick, weighed in Thursday on the comments Belichick made this week about George Kittle. Ninkovich doesn’t object to Belichick’s praise of Kittle so much as view it as a slight against his old teammate, TE Rob Gronkowski. Ninkovich said on the Greg Hill Show that it was “unnecessary” for Bill to take a “jab” at Gronk while talking about the 49ers tight end.
While speaking to San Francisco media, Belichick heaped praise on Kittle.
“Kittle is a great player,” Belichick said. “He does everything well. I’d put him right at the top of the league there, period. His ability to run, catch, get open, after the catch, block, he does everything at a high level. He’s as good as anybody that I’ve coached or as good as anybody that we’ve played against.”
It’s not out of the ordinary for Hoodie to build a player up, but this time Ninkovich thinks he went a little too far.
“I don’t get why he is doing that,” Ninkovich said Thursday. “It seems like a little shot. It seems like a little jab.”
“I just think it may be a slight little jab there, which seems a little unnecessary. But, Kittle is good. You can’t argue with the fact that Kittle is the best tight end in the game right now. I personally think he is. He is better than [Travis] Kelce in the running game. He can block, he’s tough. He has a little bit of craziness to him where if he’s going to get hit he is going to jump up and scream a little bit. For me, I like him as the No. 1 tight end in the league right now. Best ever? It’s still Gronk to me.”
Kittle, 27, needs to pick up the pace in touchdown receptions to get into the Gronk conversation. Don’t forget, Gronk had 17 touchdowns in 2011 at 22 years old. He had 38 over his first three seasons, thanks in large part to the greatness of Tom Brady. Kittle has 14 after four and a half seasons.