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The San Francisco 49ers are going to get a serious jolt in Week 3.
Tight end George Kittle will make his season debut Sunday against the Broncos in Denver.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Friday Kittle is “ready to go” after he was taken off the injury report. He suffered a groin injury Sept. 5 in a practice leading up to the Niners’ season opener.
Even though this is his sixth season in the league, Kittle is as excited as ever to be on the field again.
“I’m pretty happy,” Kittle said Thursday. “Just had a breath of fresh air, honestly. It feels great to be back on the football field with the boys. I love our performance staff. They do a fantastic job of getting us back together, but I’d be OK with not really seeing them for the rest of the season. So, just really happy to be back out there catching the football, actually getting to put pads on, hit people.”
The Niners lost Trey Lance for the season last week, but Jimmy Garoppolo is filling into a familiar role having led the Niners to the playoffs three of the last four seasons.
He led San Fran to Super Bowl LIV in 2020, and last year’s playoff run included a win at Lambeau Field over the top-seeded Green Bay Packers before the 49ers lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship.
Kittle has not played a full season since 2017, missing half of the 2020 season and three more games last year.
But when he’s on the field, he’s one of the most dominant tight ends in the NFL.
His 17-game average since the 2018 season is 95 catches for 1,299 yards and six touchdowns. In 14 games last year, he caught 71 passes, six of them for scores, for 910 yards.
The last time Kittle played Denver in 2018, he grabbed seven catches for 210 yards and a touchdown.