The starting center of the San Francisco 49ers won’t likely wear customized Jordan-brand football cleats in 2014.
If fourth-year offensive lineman
Stylish cleats aside, Kilgore, fresh off signing a three-year contract extension to remain with the 49ers through 2017, is aiming to replace the production of the Jordan-wearing center.
“It’s about picking up where he left off,” Kilgore said of Goodwin, a three-year starter on San Francisco’s offensive line who reportedly visited his former team, the New Orleans Saints, on a free agent visit last week.
“They’re big shoes to fill,” Kilgore said, referring to Goodwin’s consistent play, not cleat selection. “I could never say anything bad about Jonathan. He’s just a class-A person, a great human being. He’s a role model for me as a player, a great teacher and more than anything, a great friend.
“But I feel like I’ve had a lot of time and preparation, and I feel like I’m ready to lead this offensive line to where we need to be.”
Kilgore paid close attention to Goodwin over his three years with the team. Goodwin signed with San Francisco as a free agent in 2011, the same year Kilgore was selected as a fifth-round draft pick out of Appalachian State.
Flash forward to 2014, and Kilgore made a decision he called “huge” for himself and his family.
“It also makes me happy to feel that support from the front office and coaches,” the 26-year-old said of his contract extension. “I’m very happy to get that over with and feel that sense of ‘want’ from the team.
“Now that it’s all over and done with, I can continue to build on what I’ve done over the last four years.”
Kilgore, a 6-foot-3, 308-pound lineman who played tackle and guard in college, has spent the majority of his 49ers career as a reserve center and as an extra blocker in jumbo formations. Kilgore also lined up wide as a receiver last season in a home contest against the Arizona Cardinals.
No worries, as Kilgore is looking to have his hands on the ball every play.
In fact, Kilgore has put an emphasis on snapping the football this offseason, while also focusing on his conditioning and strength training.
“It’s all muscle memory,” Kilgore said. “You don’t try to think about it too much. You work at it, and it always helps to practice it.
“It’s about getting the form down with the steps so when the first day comes for us to snap, it’ll be easy.”
Kilgore and the 49ers linemen will go through two weeks of workouts at team headquarters before starting the second phase of the offseason program. The linemen will be allowed to go through player instruction and drills with San Francisco’s coaching staff during the three-week-long phase of the program.
“It’s good to see all the guys,” Kilgore said of the tight-knit line group. “Nobody has really missed a beat it seems like. It’s been good to get back into it.”