Logan Riely/Getty Images
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle will make his 2022 season debut on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Friday.
Shanahan said, via ESPN’s Nick Wagoner:
“He’s good to go. I thought he got better each day. He means a ton in both [the run and pass game]. Kittle has been one of our better players here over the years when he’s out there. We’ve got to get him back into football shape just because he hasn’t played in a little bit but he helps us in every facet.”
Kittle missed the first two weeks of the season while nursing a groin injury.
Kittle added that he’s excited to get back to work:
“I’m pretty happy. 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.”
With Kittle set to return, Jimmy Garoppolo will have his full arsenal of receivers available for Sunday’s game. Garoppolo took over as the team’s starting quarterback in Week 2 following a season-ending injury to Trey Lance.
Kittle has been one of the team’s top targets since the 2018 campaign. However, he has not played a full season since that year because of injuries.
He appeared in 14 games during the 2019 season, eight games in 2020 and last season he played 14 games. During the 2021 campaign, he caught 71 passes for 910 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games.
Kittle figures to see a large amount of the workload against Denver on Sunday. However, Garoppolo can also turn to Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings out wide.
The 49ers are 1-1 this season.