George Kittle doesn’t care that the 49ers have been eliminated from the playoffs. He’s a football players and wants to finish the job he started, especially as a healthy player. Coming off the injured list, Kittle has missed the last six games with a foot injury sustained on Nov 1st.
“Yeah, he looked great this week,” said Kyle Shanahan. “Just talked to him, said he felt good here after practice, so I’m expecting him to go.”
Kittle spoke with the media today and explained why he wants to return despite the team being 5-9. The entire season has been difficult for him, missing two games earlier in the season with a knee injury, Kittle is done yet.
“That’s why I’m coming back,” Kittle said. “Because I have a very sour taste in my mouth. I hate losing football games and I hate when I don’t perform at a high level, so ending on an injury is not very fun and I know that everybody can say that who has missed games.
So the fact that I get two opportunities, especially against division opponents, I can let them know that I’m still here and I will be for multiple years to come. I’m really excited about that to get the chance to play these next two weeks.”
Shanahan was asked why risk putting Kittle in the last two games, especially since it maybe a risk of him getting injured again.
“He’s probably one of the healthiest guys we have right now,” said Shanahan. “The he had two good weeks of practice, feels great after it. So, we wouldn’t put him out at all if there was any risk of re-injuring this or he wasn’t healed, but we’ve got a lot of guys going out there and everyone’s got stuff on the line every time they step out, whether you have two games left and you’re not in the playoffs or whether it’s the first game of the year.”
Mullens will be out this week when the team plays the Arizona cardinals. Mullens injured his elbow late in the fourth quarter in their loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He was supposed to undergo Tommy John surgery and Shanahan addressed his current status today.
“Nick, it’s not a hundred percent sure with the Tommy John,” he explained. “I think he’s going down to have them look at it and stuff. I’d be probably surprised if not. It’s going to be a long recovery regardless, whether he gets surgery or not, but it’s not a hundred percent sure. They’re going to wait to decide on that once the swelling’s gone down.”
2020 Pro Bowl Selections
The San Francisco 49ers announced FB Kyle Juszczyk, LB Fred Warner and T Trent Williams were selected to the 2021 Pro Bowl. They spoke with the media this week after the announcement.
An eight-year veteran who signed with the 49ers as a free agent in 2017, Juszczyk earned his fifth-consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl (2017-21) and fourth straight as a member of the 49ers. In 14 games played this season (13 starts), he has registered 16 receptions for 188 yards (11.8 average) and two touchdowns through the air to go along with career highs in carries (15), rushing yards (61) and rushing touchdowns (two). His four total touchdowns on the season are tied for his single-season career high.
“Honestly, I think I’m more happy for Fred getting his first one than me getting my fifth, to be totally real with you,” said Juszczyk. “Just because I know how important that first one is, and I remember how excited I was when I first got my first nod. That one definitely means the most. It’s the hardest one to get. You really kind of have to break through, and I’ve told him he’s got the hardest one out of the way, and now they’re going to start coming easier for him because people know his name, and rightfully so.
The guy’s an absolute baller. He’s been playing out of his mind, not just this year, but the past couple of years. But I’m just really happy to see him get that recognition because he deserves every bit of it.”
Warner earns the first Pro Bowl selection of his career. His 101 total tackles on the season leads the 49ers as he is one of two players in the NFL with 100-or-more tackles (101), two-or-more passes defensed (three), two-or-more interceptions (two) and one-or-more fumble recovery (one). Warner anchors the 49ers defense which ranks fifth in the NFL in yards per game allowed (314.3).
“It’s a huge honor,” Warner said. “That’s one of those things where you come into the league and have individual goals that you set for yourself. And so to be able to check one of those off is huge, and I think any individual accolades in this league is always a team award.
Football, I feel like, is the truest team sport in the entire world, and so I can’t do what I do without my teammates, and I know Trent and Kyle will say the exact same. I’ve just got a great group around me, and I’m very grateful, very blessed.”
Williams is named to his eighth career Pro Bowl (2013-19 & 2021) and first as a member of the 49ers. Williams, who was acquired by San Francisco in a trade with the Washington Football Team this past offseason, has started all 13 games in which he appeared and has helped the 49ers register 18 rushing touchdowns on the season, which are tied for the seventh-most in the NFL.
“It never gets old,” said Williams. “Every year is just as special as the last. But this year, I think, is far more special to me just because of what I had to overcome with this last season, the last year-and-a-half. I think it was a mountain climb for me and I feel like being able to be recognized by my peers as one of the best in the game gives me that confidence to think that my game is back where it’s supposed to be.”
Photo by Terrelle Lloyd/49ers