Hawks in the NFL | Week 8

With Week 8 of the NFL season now in the books, The Daily Iowan breaks down the league’s biggest Iowa-related storylines.

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San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle (85) drops a pass while being tackled by Detroit Lions’ Quandre Diggs (28) in the third quarter on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor


The Houston Texans incurred the seventh loss of their 2021-22 NFL season Sunday. Houston has played eight games this year.

Former Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey has started all eight of the Texans’ games in 2021-22. This week, Kirksey did so with a broken thumb.

Kirksey fractured his thumb in Houston’s 31-5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals Oct. 24. The 29-year-old didn’t participate in the Texans’ Oct. 27 practice. He did, however, take part in Houston’s Oct. 28 workouts.

Kirksey recorded five total tackles in the Texans’ 38-22 loss to the 7-1 Los Angeles Rams Sunday.  Kirksey leads Houston in tackles this season with 56.

At a meeting with reporters Monday, Kirksey told Yahoo Sports that he and his teammates are “still in it” despite their struggles this year.

Kirksey added that the Texans’ struggles are all self-inflicted.

“[The Rams] had good execution, and we didn’t,” Kirksey told Yahoo Sports. “There is nothing more I can say that can make things change for us. It was just poor execution on our part.”

King misses Texans-Rams game 

Former Iowa defensive back Desmond King missed Sunday’s Houston-Los Angeles game at NRG Stadium in Texas.

Per a report from ProFootballTalk, King did not play Sunday for disciplinary reasons. Aaron Wilson, an anchor with SportsTalk 790 in Houston, said King had an unexcused absence from a team activity.

King is the Texans’ sixth-leading tackler, registering 36 total stops on the year.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound 26-year-old has started two games for Houston this year. King has forced one fumble in 2021-22.

Kittle to return to practice Wednesday

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle has spent the last three weeks on injured reserve with a calf injury. Now, it appears that the ex-Hawkeye may return to the field soon.

If a player, like Kittle, is placed on injured reserve, the National Football League mandates that player remain on IR and off the field for at least three weeks.

Since three weeks have passed, Kittle can return to action.

49ers head coach Kyle Shnnahan announced Tuesday that his plan is for Kittle to return to the practice field Wednesday.

Because Kittle is no longer on injured reserve, he could play in San Francisco’s game against Arizona Nov. 7. Shanahan said Oct. 27 that he expects Kittle to return in time for the 49ers’ game against the Cardinals.

Kittle has been dealing with the calf injury that sidelined him for the last three weeks since Sept. 12, when the 49ers took on the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Michigan.

After San Francisco’s Week 1 game against Detroit, Kittle played through the injury. He participated in the 49ers Week 2, 3, and 4 contests against the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Seahawks. He then missed San Francisco’s next three games versus Arizona, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Chicago Bears.

Denver Broncos place Fant on COVID-19 list

Per ProFootballTalk, the Denver Broncos have placed tight end Noah Fant on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list because he tested positive for the virus.

Fant can’t officially be ruled out of the Broncos’ matchup with the Cowboys this weekend, however. If he is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Fant could get out of the NFL’s virus protocols if he tests negative two times in a span greater than 24 hours.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound former Hawkeye ranks second on the Broncos’ roster in receiving this season. He’s hauled in 37 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns.

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