NFL Hawaii Tracker: Punahou’s DeForest Buckner victorious in return to San Francisco


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, middle, loses a fumble between Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99), defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (97) and defensive end Kwity Paye, right, who recovered the ball, during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

DeForest Buckner was drafted seventh overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 and became one of the NFL’s best defensive lineman over the next four seasons, culminating with a Super Bowl appearance in 2020.

However, when it came time to extend his contract, Buckner acknowledged earlier in the week that the two sides couldn’t meet in the middle. The Waianae native and Punahou alum was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a first-round pick in March 2020 and subsequently signed a four-year, $84 million extension that he wasn’t afforded in San Francisco.

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Buckner continued to shine in Indianapolis, earning All-Pro honors at defensive tackle with the Colts in 2020.

Sunday marked Buckner’s first game back in San Francisco since the trade, and he finished with five tackles and a symbolic sack to end the game, giving 49ers fans a glimpse of what they missed out on.

The Colts won 30-18 to improve to 3-4 on Sunday Night Football. Buckner and the Colts will continue to gain the national spotlight when HBO’s Hard Knocks will air an in-season series on the team in mid-November.

Here’s how other players with Hawaii ties fared during Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season:


Bradlee Anae, defensive end, Dallas Cowboys (Kahuku): The Cowboys had a Week 6 bye.

Ka’imi Fairbairn, kicker, Houston Texans (Punahou): Fairbairn made his lone field goal attempt from 53 yards out in a 31-5 loss against the Arizona Cardinals.

Alohi Gilman, safety, Los Angeles Chargers (Kahuku): The Chargers had a bye during Week 6.

Kamu Grugier-Hill, linebacker, Houston Texans (Kamehameha): Grugier-Hill had six tackles (four solo) in a 31-5 loss against the Arizona Cardinals.

Nate Herbig, guard, Philadelphia Eagles (Saint Louis): Herbig was active but did not play in any snaps in the team’s 33-22 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Marcus Kemp, receiver, Kansas City Chiefs (University of Hawaii): Kemp had one reception for eight yards in a 27-3 loss against the Tennessee Titans.

Keith Kirkwood, receiver, Carolina Panthers (University of Hawaii): Kirkwood was elevated to the active roster and caught three passes for 25 yards in a 25-3 loss against the New York Giants.

Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Las Vegas Raiders (Saint Louis): Mariota carried the ball once for a gain of four yards in the team’s 33-22 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. It was his second carry of the season. His first came in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens on a play that put him on injured reserve.

Netane Muti, guard, Denver Broncos (Leilehua): Muti was active in the team’s 17-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football.

Sammis Reyes, tight end, Washington Football Team (University of Hawaii): Reyes was ruled active prior to the team’s 24-10 loss against the Green Bay Packers but did not record any statistics.

Rigoberto Sanchez, punter, Colts (University of Hawaii): Sanchez punted six times for a total of 273 yards in a 30-18 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback, Miami Dolphins (Saint Louis): Tagovailoa completed 32 of his 40 passes for 291 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions as the Dolphins fell to 1-6 with a 30-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Jahlani Tavai, linebacker, New England Patriots (University of Hawaii): Tavai had a tackle in a 54-13 win over the New York Jets.


Rico Bussey, receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers (University of Hawaii)

Rojesterman Farris, cornerback, Denver Broncos (University of Hawaii)

Trayvon Henderson, safety, Cincinnati Bengals (University of Hawaii)

Breiden Fehoko, defensive tackle, Los Angeles Chargers (Farrington)


Trevor Davis, receiver (University of Hawaii)

Hercules Mata’afa, defensive tackle (Lahainaluna)

Kamalei Correa, linebacker (Saint Louis)

Leo Koloamatangi, offensive lineman (University of Hawaii) 

Cole McDonald, quarterback, Toronto Argonauts (CFL) (University of Hawaii)

Jordan Ta’amu, quarterback (Pearl City)

Manti Te’o, linebacker (Punahou)

JoJo Ward, receiver (University of Hawaii)


Tyson Alualu, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh Steelers (Saint Louis): Alualu is out indefinitely with a fractured ankle.

Isaac Seumalo, offensive lineman, Philadelphia Eagles (born in Hawaii): Seumalo is out for the season due to foot surgery.

John Ursua, receiver, Seattle Seahawks (University of Hawaii): Ursua is out for the season with a torn ACL.

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