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Stanford in the NFL, Week 7: Injuries lead to quiet week for former Cardinal; Garnett retires

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Familiar names to Stanford fans have been left off this weekly recap in recent weeks, but it appears that some players are nearing a return to action.

Christian McCaffrey has missed his Carolina Panthers’ last five games with an ankle injury. The superstar running back practiced with the team on Monday, but remains a “long-shot” for Thursday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons. Despite missing their top player, the Panthers sit at 3-4 on the season.

Conversely, while it looked like he was close to returning from a strained calf, cornerback Richard Sherman ’10 of the San Francisco 49ers suffered a setback recently. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan does not believe Sherman will be back on the field until at least Week 12 while his teammate, Solomon Thomas ’18, remains out for the season with a torn ACL.

Stanford’s reliable NFL tight end corps is also facing injuries. Three-time Pro Bowler Zach Ertz ’13 of the Philadelphia Eagles is expected to miss four to six weeks with an ankle injury, and two-time Pro Bowler Austin Hooper ’17 missed Sunday’s game with appendicitis. Hooper’s Cleveland Browns defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 37-34 as quarterback Baker Mayfield threw five touchdown passes despite missing two of his favorite pass catchers.

One tight end who did play on Sunday was Dalton Schultz ’18, who recorded two receptions for 22 yards in a 25-3 loss for his Dallas Cowboys. 

Seattle Seahawks tight end Colby Parkinson ’20 practiced with the team for the first time earlier last week; the rookie has spent the season thus far recovering from foot surgery.

Defensively, former Cardinal made significant contributions again this week. 

New York Giants linebacker Blake Martinez ’16 registered nine tackles and a pass defended, continuing to add to his excellent start to the season. His Giants came up short on Thursday night in Philadelphia, losing 22-21. 

Safeties Justin Reid ’18 and Michael Thomas ’12 of the Houston Texans recorded four and two tackles on Sunday, but their team came up short in a 35-20 defeat to the Green Bay Packers. 

Along the defensive line, Buffalo Bills teammates Trent Murphy ’14 and Harrison Phillips ’18 contributed three and one tackles, respectively, after both being healthy scratches a week ago.

In other news, The Athletic reported that Washington Football Team guard Joshua Garnett ’16 has retired from the NFL. Garnett was drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the 49ers but battled injuries throughout his NFL career. Garnett played on the Farm from 2012 to 2015, a period in which the Cardinal recorded three PAC-12 championships and two Rose Bowl victories. In his senior year, Garnett was the ninth unanimous All-American in Stanford history and won the school’s first ever Outland Trophy, an award given to the best interior lineman in college football.

Josh Garnett (above) during a game in his senior year as a Cardinal in 2015. (Photo: DAVID ELKINSON/isiphotos.com)

Contact Jibriel Taha at jtaha ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Jibriel Taha ’24 is a staff writer for the sports section. He is from Malibu, California and studies economics and political science. In his free time, he enjoys watching football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and tennis. He also umpires and referees youth sports. Contact him at jtaha ‘at’ stanford.edu.