49ers

49ers' George Kittle doesn't want to miss 'massive' game vs. Packers

49ers' George Kittle doesn't want to miss 'massive' game vs. Packers

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end George Kittle said he knew at the time he sustained injuries to his left knee and ankle in Week 9 that he would be out for a couple of weeks.

On Thursday, he returned to limited practice after sitting out two weeks of 49ers' practices and games.

“It went really well,” Kittle said after practice. “It was definitely a great step in the right direction. It was really fun being back out there with all the guys. I definitely don’t miss sitting in the training room all day. My goal definitely is still Green Bay.”

Kittle and wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and Deebo Samuel (shoulder) returned to limited practice on Thursday, suggesting there is a strong likelihood each player will be available to play Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.

“Unfortunately, that falls on the doctors and coach [Kyle] Shanahan, so whatever they decide, I’ll do,” Kittle said.

Kittle was forced to watch the past two games from a suite on the 800 level of Levi’s Stadium, rather than being on the sideline. Kittle described that experience as “absolutely brutal, absolutely awful.” At worst, he hoped to be allowed on the sideline with his teammates.

“I want to be down there, but they said I’d hurt myself if I put myself down there,” Kittle said. “I disagreed, but I understand.

“It’s a lower body injury, so it doesn’t make any sense to stand on it for three or four hours, and fatigue it. I agree with them, and I disagree with them.”

Kittle, as Shanahan has done in the past two weeks, declined to disclose the nature of his injuries. When asked if his ankle or knee is giving him the most difficulty, he quipped, “Yes.”

Kittle was injured on the 49ers’ first play of their Oct. 31 game against the Arizona Cardinals. He said he did not believe his decision to remain in the game caused the injuries to worsen.

“They said, ‘You want to play?’ And I said, ‘I’ll do everything I can to finish the game,’ and I got an extra three quarters out of it,” Kittle said. “I don’t think it affected my injury any further.”

Kittle leads the 49ers with 46 receptions for 541 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers are atop the NFC West, as well as the conference, with a 9-1 record. The Packers are 8-2.

[RELATED: Why beating the 49ers at Levi's means so much to Rodgers]

“Every game is a big game, but definitely an 8-2 Packers team coming, it’s definitely a battle for the NFC, definitely a massive game,” Kittle said. “It’s one I don’t want to miss.”

49ers' Katie Sowers responds to Goshen College's discrimination apology

49ers' Katie Sowers responds to Goshen College's discrimination apology

Katie Sowers will make history as the first female to coach in a Super Bowl when the 49ers face the Kansas Chiefs in Miami.

This will be Sowers' third year with the 49ers after spending time with the Atlanta Falcons. Her journey to Santa Clara was anything but conventional. Sowers ultimately ended up on the football field because she was turned down as a volunteer coach for the Goshen College women’s basketball team over a decade ago because of her sexual orientation.

While at the time the decision was devastating, it started her on the path to the 49ers and now the Super Bowl.

Sowers shared the story with NBC Sports Bay Area in November 2019.

“For a long time I felt lost," Sowers said. "That’s when I googled women’s football. And so, in a way, looking back, and in the way I feel like I’ve kind of viewed that experience was that that experience actually led me to football and led me to a second chance at the game that I originally loved the most."

On Wednesday, Goshen College President Rebecca Stoltzfus released a statement acknowledging and apologizing for discriminating against Sowers. The school adopted a non-discrimination policy in 2015.

We are very proud of all that our alumna Katie Sowers '09, an assistant coach for the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers, has achieved in her life and the ways that she leads on and off the football field with authenticity, grace and excellence. She has publicly shared her journey to coaching, including the barriers she faced related to her sexual orientation when seeking a volunteer coaching position at Goshen College.

Sadly, in 2009, our policies and the laws of Indiana allowed for hiring decisions to consider sexual orientation.

I am glad that Goshen College adopted a new non-discrimination policy in 2015, and I am thankful for the leaders before me who brought this change about, not the least of whom were our students and alumni.

Our new vision states: “Being rooted in the way of Jesus, we will seek inclusive community and transformative justice in all that we do.” While we cannot go back and change history, justice calls us to stand up now and say that the way Goshen College treated Katie’s offer to coach was hurtful and wrong. I express on behalf of the institution our profound apologies to Katie Sowers and to all others who have not been welcomed here, simply because of who they are. And I want to personally thank all of our students, employees and alumni who call us to be and do better.

"I loved my time at Goshen and I love everything Goshen College represents,” Sowers told NBC Sports Bay Area regarding the apology. “This moment was tough, but the reality is we all experience rejection and adversity in our lives.

“When, not if, we go through these moments of adversity, we can view them as road blocks and feel sorry for ourselves or we can view them as a part of our story. I prefer to see what happened to me as a detour that put me on a path to where I am now.”

[RELATED: 49ers taking entire staff to Super Bowl, Jed York reveals]

Many of the 49ers players have shared how Sowers has been an asset to their productivity and growth with the team. They value her for what she brings to the table and respect her for who she is.

How Jimmy Garoppolo's impact on 49ers' offense goes beyond numbers

How Jimmy Garoppolo's impact on 49ers' offense goes beyond numbers

Despite the 49ers finishing with a 13-3 record and advancing to Super Bowl LIV, few NFL pundits seem willing to give Jimmy Garoppolo any credit for the team’s success.

The quarterback needed just eight pass attempts to defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, as San Francisco rode a dominant run game and suffocating defensive performance to a 37-20 victory.

Fox Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd isn’t among the detractors and voiced his support for Jimmy G ahead of a Super Bowl showdown with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.

“He carried this team in the middle of the season when they fell apart physically,” Cowherd said on "The Herd" this week. “I’m not a stat guy, I’m an eye guy. Watch the games.”

The success of the run game for the Niners this season didn’t necessitate a lot of pass-heavy games, but Garoppolo still finished eighth among qualified NFL quarterbacks in passer rating.

[RELATED: 49ers taking entire staff to Super Bowl]

When the 49ers have ended up in a shootout this year, Garoppolo has stepped up.

When they’ve needed him to just manage the game and make the occasional throw downfield, Garoppolo has stepped up.

No matter what the scenario, Garoppolo has delivered and this 49ers team wouldn't be anywhere near the Super Bowl without his steady leadership guiding the offense.

Jimmy G now has the chance to solidify himself among the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks when he and the Niners take the field against the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami for Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium.