49ers: How “Celek Time” has Emerged as a Real Red Zone Threat for 2018

Niners live believes that in 2018, fans will be setting their alarms for Garrett Celek aka..“Celek Time” more frequently on game days.


Garrett Celek emerged as a receiving threat in 2017 after being utilized primarily as a blocking specialist throughout his career. Celek provided the 49ers offense with some of its biggest and most memorable plays of the 2017 season.

The Rise of “Celek Time”

Celek, 6’5” 252 lbs., is one of the few players left from the 49ers teams that made three consecutive NFC championship games. The undrafted free agent earned his spot on the team as a blocking specialist. Fast forward to the 2017 season, Celek broke out as one of the top receiving threats in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. His unexpected big plays in the second half of the season earned him the nickname, “Celek Time.” The nickname was coined by Shanahan after Celek scored a 47-yard touchdown against the New York Giants in the 49ers’ first win of the season.

Shanahan explained the meaning of “Celek time” to the press later that week.

“We just started joking that they didn’t realize it was ‘Celek Time’, and it just kind of stuck. We thought it was a one-time deal but it came up again last week, so now we’re getting used to it, and guys enjoy it,” said Shanahan (via the team’s website).

Season Stats and Pro Football Focus Grades: 21 receptions for 336 yards, 16.0 avg. and four touchdowns. Overall grade of; 75.0, receiving 74.3, run block 75.9, pass block 44.5 on 560 total snaps. 

Celek, ended the season with four touchdowns, which is a career high. He became a safety valve for Jimmy Garoppolo after the quarterback was inserted into the starting lineup after being traded from the New England Patriots. With Jimmy G under center, Celek recorded eight receptions for 188 yards and two touchdowns in four games.

Stats you should know:  Celek’s four receiving touchdowns ranked first on the team in 2017. Out of Celek’s 10 career touchdowns (all coming in the last three years), nine came from the red zone. Celek also recorded six receptions for 100 yards on third down, which resulted in three first downs.

Looking forward to “Red Zone Time” in 2018 

Being in Shanahan’s offense for a second season as a hybrid/flex tight end and having an entire offseason to build chemistry with Jimmy G, Celek will be a red zone threat in Shanahan’s 2018 offense. Celek is currently the tallest receiving threat on the team. He also excels at finding the holes in zone defenses when deployed by defensive coordinators. Celek wasn’t expected to make a big impact in 2017, but with the rise of “Celek Time,” he looks to be a reliable receiving threat for Jimmy G in Shanahan’s aerial attack. Celek is signed through 2019. Forty-Niners fans must set their clocks, watches and smartphones to ring the alarm when it’s “Celek Time.”

Recent article alerts: Projecting TE George Kittle’s Impact and Statistics on Offense in 2018.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Co-Author Jimi Payne Staff Writer at Niners live. Co-Author, Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims