As Kamu Grugier-Hill waited to be carted off the field on Dec. 12 against Seattle, he feared the worst. Both Texans and Seahawks players came over to the veteran linebacker to offer words of support to him on the field.
After what appeared to be a serious season-ending knee injury, Grugier-Hill did not land on the Reserve/Injured list the following Monday. Instead, the Houston Texans placed him on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Grugier-Hill missed just two games and then returned to the starting lineup for the Week 17 game at San Francisco.
"It was definitely a rough two weeks," Grugier-Hill said. "I went down in the Seattle game. I thought the worst, but once we got all the things figured out, praise God, it wasn't as bad. I was working through that and then I got hit with COVID. The COVID kind of took a little toll on me. Took me a little while to get back but playing the game last week, moving around felt pretty good. I'm excited to finish the year strong this week."
The Texans' leading tackler played nearly all of the defensive snaps and finished tied for third with seven tackles (five solo) in his return on Sunday. Despite not playing in three games this season, Grugier-Hill still leads the team with 99 tackles and could very well finish with the first 100-tackle season of his six-year NFL career.
"It was definitely good to get him back," Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith said. "He came in, and I didn't know a lot about him, just liked a lot of his traits. He's got great football knowledge, comes to work every day, can make plays. Played very well the first time around when he played Tennessee, but he's one of our guys. Look to the future, of course. You'd like for him be a part of that, but the future is about right now and the best way to set up your future is to play well."
In Week 11 at Tennessee, Grugier-Hill picked off QB Ryan Tannehill in the first quarter and added an 82-yard interception return. He also led the team with 12 tackles (six solo) and recorded a career-high two quarterback hits and two passes defensed in the 22-13 win over the Titans.
"I love Houston. I love the team," Grugier-Hill said. "We have things to build off of this year. It wasn't the best year. I've said this before in recent interviews; the bones are there. I feel like we truly have the potential to build something special here and I definitely want to be a part of it. Hopefully, we work through that. We'll probably get closer to some stuff in the off-season and go from there."
Through 13 games this season, Grugier-Hill has also recorded 12 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, five quarterback hits, one interception with an 82-yard return, three passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
The Texans will close out their 2021 campaign at home against the Tennessee Titans. Sunday's kickoff is set for noon CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610. Click here for tickets.
Check out the best photos from the Texans Week 17 matchup with the 49ers.