49ers-Bears inactives: George Kittle, Daniel Brunskill out for season opener

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49ers' Kittle, Brunskill inactive for season opener vs. Bears originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

CHICAGO -- Quarterback Trey Lance will open his first season as the 49ers’ full-time starting quarterback Sunday without any help from one of the team’s top offensive playmakers.

Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle was listed as one of the 49ers’ seven inactive players for the Week 1 matchup against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Kittle did not practice in the days leading up to the game with a groin injury. How he progresses physically this week will determine if Kittle will be available for the 49ers’ home opener next Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium.

Kittle has played every game of a season just once in his six-year career. In 2018, he appeared in all 16 games and posted career-best numbers with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns.

Kittle missed two games in 2019 (knee sprain), eight games in 2020 (knee sprain and fractured foot) and three games last season (calf strain).

The 49ers will turn to backup tight ends Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley and Tyler Kroft in Kittle’s absence.

Lance will not have the benefit of featuring Kittle in the passing game, but he is still not lacking for targets in the passing game with wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

The 49ers figure to lean heavily on their running game, led by Elijah Mitchell, in what is expected to be inclement weather.

Undrafted rookie running back Jordan Mason will suit up for his NFL debut as one of three halfbacks, along with Mitchell and Jeff Wilson Jr.

Ty Davis-Price, a third-round pick from LSU, is inactive. A year ago, Mitchell, a sixth-round pick, beat out Trey Sermon, a third-round pick. Sermon did not make the team this season, and the Philadelphia Eagles claimed him off waivers.

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Offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill, who started every game the past two seasons for the 49ers, is not available due to a hamstring injury.

The 49ers will go with an inexperienced unit on their offensive line consisting of left guard Aaron Banks, center Jake Brendel and rookie right guard Spencer Burford.

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