Kittle listed as questionable for season opener vs. Bears

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Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle, who missed 14 games due to injuries in his first five NFL seasons, is in serious question to open this season on the field for the 49ers.

The 49ers on Friday listed Kittle as questionable for the team’s regular-season opener on Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Kittle did not practice this week due to a groin injury.

The 49ers hope Kittle will be available to practice next week and be ready for the team’s home opener against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers also are hoping to avoid a situation similar to last year, when Kittle experienced a calf issue early in the season and eventually was placed on injured reserve. One of the games Kittle missed last season was the team’s Oct. 31 game against the Bears.

Kittle figures to be a key component of the 49ers’ offense this season during the transition to second-year quarterback Trey Lance. The club is not likely to take any chances with Kittle, as they want him to be healthy and productive for the bulk of the 17-game regular season.

Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley and Tyler Kroft are the other tight ends on the 49ers’ roster, but none has the pass-catching, play-making or blocking skills that made Kittle the highest-paid player at his position in the NFL.

The only other player on the 49ers’ 53-man roster who will not be available to face the Bears is offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill, who sustained a hamstring injury in the team’s preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 12 and was ruled out on Friday.

Brunskill started every game for the 49ers the past two seasons. He started half of the games in 2020 at right guard and the other half at center. Last year, he was the team’s starting right guard all season long.

With Brunskill out and Laken Tomlinson signing a lucrative free-agent contract this offseason with the New York Jets, the 49ers will start three new players on the interior of the offensive line: left guard Aaron Banks, center Jake Brendel and rookie right guard Spencer Burford.

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