San Francisco 49ers

How Netflix and Chinese food helped one 49ers player celebrate his Pro Bowl nod

George Kittle, the 49ers’ starting tight end, is going to the Pro Bowl. He leads the team with 1,154 receiving yards.
George Kittle, the 49ers’ starting tight end, is going to the Pro Bowl. He leads the team with 1,154 receiving yards. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

George Kittle had quite the eventful celebration of his first Pro Bowl nod after he found this week.

“I got a bunch of Chinese food, sat on my couch and watched Netflix,” the 49ers tight end said.

Perhaps the Pro Bowl rosters being announced Tuesday night didn’t allow for a wild night of celebrating for the second-year pro who’s having a historic season.

Kittle, after all, had to refuel after a lifting session in the team’s weight room ahead of Wednesday, which is typically the most extensive day of practice. He found out during his leg routine he would be joining Philadelphia Eagles star Zach Ertz representing the NFC. Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts standout Eric Ebron made it in the AFC.

“I was pretty pumped. Coach (Kyle) Shanahan called me, let me know. I was really excited,” he said. “Kind of felt like a little kid, seeing Santa Claus. I don’t know how to explain. It was just a fantastic feeling.”

Kittle, who leads the team with 1,154 receiving yards, will be joined by fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was named a starter. The trip to Orlando, Fla., marks the third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance for Juszczyk, the former Baltimore Raven, who signed a controversial four-year, $21 million contract to join San Francisco in 2017.

It was the most money ever given to a fullback, but he’s proving to be worthy of the investment. Juszczyk has played 590 snaps this season, the second most of any non-offensive lineman, and has been key in the 49ers’ 10th-ranked rushing attack.

“(I’m) extremely excited to have George with me,” Juszczyk said. “It’s always good to have a buddy. I remember my first year making the Pro Bowl, it was definitely my most exciting year. So, I’m excited for his excitement. It’s going to be fun.”

The 49ers had three alternates for the game named on Tuesday: defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, kicker Robbie Gould and linebacker and special teamer Mark Nzeocha.

Buckner seems to be the most glaring omission of the group. His 11 sacks are second in among interior players in the NFC, behind only reigning defensive player of the year Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams. Akiem Hicks of the Chicago Bears, who come to Levi’s Stadium for Sunday’s game, and the Eagles’ Fletcher Cox will join Donald in Orando.

“The DeForest (omission) shocked me,” Shanahan said. “I thought that was done, so that was the one I felt for the most. I always get sensitive if I leave someone out. But, I thought (Joe) Staley had a chance. Definitely thought Buck would make it. I thought Robbie (Gould) had a real good chance. I thought Sherm (Richard Sherman) had a good chance.”

Injury update

Staley on Wednesday was given his normal day off. Nzeocha (groin) was the only other 49er to miss practice.

Limited: RB Matt Breida (ankle), S Antone Exum (hip), C Weston Richburg (knee), LB Malcolm Smith (achilles), S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder), CB K’Waun Williams (knee).

Exum was the only injury on Wednesday’s practice report.

The Bears were without safety Eddie Jackson due to an ankle injury suffered last week against the Green Bay Packers and is iffy to play Sunday. Jackson has six interceptions and three defensive touchdowns this season. Former 49er Aaron Lynch sat out Wednesday’s practice with an elbow injury.

Gould honored

Following his four field-goal performance Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, including hitting the game-winner from 36 yards in overtime and two extra points, the NFL named Robbie Gould the Special Teams Player of the Week.

Receiver added to practice squad

The 49ers signed former Chiefs receiver Jordan Smallwood to the practice squad after losing Victor Bolden Jr. to the Buffalo Bills earlier this week. Smallwood played collegiately at Oklahoma and went undrafted last spring.

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