The San Francisco 49ers will have three representatives at the 2019 Pro Bowl, and now it appears two of them will be starting. Kyle Juszczyk was voted the starting fullback, while George Kittle was voted in as a reserve. However, Kittle is likely to move into the starting lineup with Tuesday’s report that Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is withdrawing from the game.
Ertz was voted the starter, but given the Eagles brief playoff run, it’s not surprising he is withdrawing. He appeared to play the entire game in Sunday’s Divisional Round loss to the New Orleans Saints, but it’s no surprise he is banged up after 18 weeks of football. He might not need any sort of clean-up surgeries, but he at least wants to let his body heal early in the offseason.
Kittle had a monster breakout season in 2018, leading the NFL in yards after the catch and setting franchise single season records for receptions and receiving yards by a tight end. Ertz set the NFL single-season tight end receptions record, but Kittle is the more versatile of the two due to his run-blocking skills. It was no surprise Ertz got voted in over Kittle, but it is entirely fair for Kittle to now get the starting nod.
Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner is the 49ers third representative, replacing Fletcher Cox who will skip the game due to injury. Akiem Hicks likely will replace Cox in the starting lineup, but if the Los Angeles Rams get to the Super Bowl, Buckner would potentially move into the starting lineup in his place.