49ers TE George Kittle: ‘I’m advocating for two bye [weeks]’

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Does another regular-season game mean there should also be another bye added to the NFL schedule? 

If you ask San Francisco 49ers star tight end George Kittle, it’s a no-brainer. 

“There’s a huge physical toll,” Kittle said. “And, like, 17 games is a lot. It’s a lot of games, with one bye, whether it’s Week 4 or the bye is Week 11. I’m advocating for two byes.

“But the physical toll, you feel it week in and week out.”

Kittle, 28, went on to discuss the enormous amounts of money NFL players spend on maintenance and upkeep of their bodies, sharing that he personally spends a “couple hundred thousand” dollars every year.

Last season, Kittle was placed on IR with a calf injury that left him sidelined for a near month — and he was hardly alone. Injuries to the lower extremities — including hamstrings, quads and abductor muscles — went up last season, while ACL tears specifically reached a seven-year high of 71 in the league’s inaugural 17-game campaign.

Kittle likely isn’t in the minority when it comes to the idea of having two regular-season byes.

Since the new collective bargaining agreement was passed in March 2020 – it allowed for the expansion of the regular season by one game along with the expansion of the playoff field by two teams – many NFL stars have publicly voiced their disapproval.

However, history has proven that two bye weeks in one season isn’t entirely inconceivable. 

The league gave teams two bye weeks in 1993 in order to “allow for greater scheduling flexibility, ease the player injury factor and reduce team travel burdens.” However, the experiment failed partly because of how the byes were divided up across the league, which only had 28 teams at the time, and partly because of its effect on television schedules, per Yahoo. “The double byes are a double disaster,” then-Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King wrote in 1993. “With so much time off between games, teams fall out of sync.”

Here’s how some in the sports world reacted to Kittle’s remarks.


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