Where Kittle got his first-down celebration, no-fear mindset – NBC Sports Bay Area


You might have noticed George Kittle’s first-down celebration. Given 53 of his 85 receptions last season resulted in a 49ers first-down conversion, there has been ample opportunity to witness it.

Upon regaining his feet — that is, assuming the defense is able to bring him down — Kittle raises his hand in the air, makes a circle with his thumb and pointer finger while extending the other three and then dips his wrist in a forward motion.

The celebration is synonymous with Kittle, and as one defensive back admitted in the player testimonial video discussing his No. 7 overall ranking the NFL Top 100, even he can’t help but like it.

But Kittle didn’t come up with the celebration on his own. As the 49ers tight end explained to ESPN’s Tory Zawacki Roy, the inspiration behind it comes from one of his main off-the-field passions: Professional wrestling.

And more specifically, it’s an ode to his favorite wrestler: AEW star Pentagon, whose motto “cero miedo” — meaning “zero fear” — defines Kittle’s on-field mentality.

“When you’re playing football, you have to have that zero fear,” Kittle told Roy. “Because if you’re scared, you’re going to maybe not reach out for a ball, because there’s a safety in the middle of the field. Or you might not want to make a play because you’re going to be hit really hard.

“You have to have zero fear.”

Kittle and Pentagon, who share a mutual respect, met at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans and exchanged gifts. Pentagon received a jersey. Kittle left with one of his more prized possessions.

“This is his mask, but he customized it,” Kittle said while showing the luchador’s mask to Roy. “There’s a dragon on the side. It’s in the 49ers colors. He threw up the number 85 on there for me. It’s definitely one of my favorite items that I own.”

[RELATED: Kittle tells story explaining why Shanahan is a ‘wizard’]

Kittle, though, has taken it a step further beyond imitating Pentagon’s patented gesture. 

“Don’t ask my wife,” he added, “but I definitely walk around the house in this thing.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

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