Bo Jackson shot arrows inside the locker room before Kansas City Royals games. Former NFL star Clinton Portis used to drink Hennessy before every game. NFL wide receiver Josh Gordon smoked weed and drank alcohol as well before toasting cornerbacks while on the Cleveland Browns.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle has his own way of preparing his body for 60 minutes on the gridiron.
Kittle Reads Letter From His Father
First, Kittle reads a heartfelt letter from him father. That isn’t the gross or shocking part here. Don’t worry, we’ll get there.
The elder Kittle sends one of his penned letters to his son every Saturday, usually featuring notes about his opponent or last week’s game and some heavy-duty trash talk, according to ESPN.
Kittle Pukes and Head-Butts a Wall
Then, he pukes.
Right after warm-ups. He wastes no time getting the butterflies out of his system. Just a nice up-chucking session before blocking defensive ends and linebackers for the next three hours.
Lastly, Kittle makes sure to head-butt a wall while the team walks out on to the field at Levi’s Stadium. Yes, he head-butts a freaking wall.
Don’t worry, though, he straps on his helmet before doing so. His reasoning behind producing throw-up and bashing his head in his unconventional pregame routine is, well, interesting.
“As soon as we come back in from warm-ups, I go puke. 100 percent. Every game. It does make me feel better. I’m a step faster now. That’s my positive mindset,” Kittle said on the popular sports podcast Pardon My Take.
“Then as soon as we’re walking out, I put my helmet on and I head-butt a wall almost as hard as I can. So I learned that the first hit always hurts the most. So I get it out of the way and then there’s no first hit.”
I’m not so sure the 49ers team trainer or head coach Kyle Shanahan would be thrilled to hear about this, especially given how serious concussions are. The puke, however, is completely understandable. Kittle probably feels like a new man after clearing out his system.
I can only imagine how magnified Kittle’s pregame routine has been in the playoffs before the Niners’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers or before this year’s Super Bowl LIV. Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers are taking on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami.
Kittle must be on to something, though. The former Iowa star and two-time Pro Bowl tight end set the NFL single-season receiving yards record for a tight end in 2018 and posted another 1,000 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.
He also apparently has a thing for head-butting.
Considered one of the best receiving tight ends in the league, Kittle is also a terrific blocker. He was a pivotal piece to running back Raheem Mostert’s 220 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers.
For any kids out there hoping to be the next Kittle, though, I wouldn’t recommend mirroring Kittle’s pregame routine.