SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers will be without the services of Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks.
Kittle will be one of seven inactives for the 49ers (8-0), as they face off with a 7-2 Seattle team in the first meaningful matchup between the two since their heated rivalry defined the first half of the decade in the NFL.
Notably not on the inactive list is right tackle Mike McGlinchey. Both he and left tackle Joe Staley will likely make their return from injury against the Seahawks, as will fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Missing Kittle, though, dims the 49ers passing attack before the biggest game in the short history of Levi’s Stadium.
San Francisco declared Kittle out after 11 days where he’d tried to overcome a knee issue sparked during an Oct. 31 road win over the Arizona Cardinals. Kittle took a helmet to the knee on San Francisco’s first offensive snap of the night, keeping him off the field for a possession. He came back and caught six balls for 79 yards and a touchdown, before exiting in the fourth quarter.
After setting a single-season receiving yards record for tight ends last season, Kittle has caught 46 balls for 541 yards through eight games this season, and is tied for ninth in the NFL in yards after catch.
Along with Kittle, San Francisco will miss kicker Robbie Gould (quad) and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle) due to injury.
Witherspoon is just about 100% after dealing with foot and quad injuries, and will likely play next week.
Emmanuel Moseley, as he’s done, will start in Witherspoon’s place, while Garrett Celek has been activated to take Kittle’s place. To make room on the roster for Celek, the 49ers waived cornerback Dontae Johnson.
To replace Gould, San Francisco signed kicker Chase McLaughlin, and waived tackle Sam Young.
Gould has gone 13-for-20 on field goals this season, the most misses he’s had in his 15-year career. McLaughlin, a rookie from Illinois, was with the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this season, gonig 6-of-9 on field goals in four games, and making all seven extra points.
“I know he’s, according to (general manager) John (Lynch) and all the guys upstairs and according to (special-teams coordinator Richard) Hightower, the special-teams’ guys, the best one available,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “I’m excited to have him here.”
Rookie tackle Justin Skule, despite filling in ably for All-Pro left tackle Staley as the third tackle, will be inactive, as will defensive lineman Julian Taylor, running back Jeff Wilson and quarterback C.J. Beathard.