Kittle excited to see Bosa’s return for 49ers in 2021 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
We’ve finally arrived at the part of the season where hiding behind false pretenses has come to an end.
There’s no doubt that losing Nick Bosa in Week 2 to a torn ACL had an impact on the outcome of the 49ers’ 2020 season. Up until Thursday, the majority of players and coaches who were asked about the loss gave the appropriate “next man up” rebuttal.
While George Kittle did laugh a little, he gave an honest opinion about the team missing the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year for nearly the entire season.
“Come on, if I actually had to answer that, it’s Nick Bosa, he’s our second overall pick, one of the best players in the NFL,” Kittle said with a chuckle. “Yes, it affected our team. You do your best to replace guys, you have guys step up, but he’s a superstar. He was a Pro Bowler his first year.
“In my opinion he should have been All-Pro, Defensive Rookie of the Year, yeah, he’s a hell of a football player. It’s hard to replace guys like that. He’s one of a kind.”
Kittle commended the defense for their job at “surviving” all of the injuries on the team. Being ranked near the top of several defensive metrics was no easy feat without Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams for much of the season.
The defense also was without reigning All-Pro DeForest Buckner, who was traded to the Colts in the offseason.
Kittle pointed out that it is not just what Bosa and the other defensive leaders do on the field, but what they stand for in the locker room that affected the team as well.
“He might not be the most vocal guy but he does everything right from start to finish,” Kittle said of Bosa. “Everything he does is top notch so when you have a guy like that, guys follow that.
“He’s a leader by example so when all that is said and gone from the facility, yeah, it’s a body blow.”
Kittle revealed that he and Bosa have kept in touch throughout the rehabilitation process even though they are not in the same city. Kittle has remained with the team, traveling to Arizona while Bosa has been living in Los Angeles with his brother Joey, a defensive lineman with the Los Angeles Chargers.
“Bosa is doing great,” Kittle said. “I talk to him every once in a while. I know all he is excited to do is get back out on the field. I know he’s just chomping at the bit.”
Even though he is focused on facing the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, like all 49ers fans, Kittle can’t wait to see Bosa back on the field in 2021.
“He’s one of my favorite players I’ve ever seen play, so I’m pretty excited for that as well,” Kittle said.