George Kittle is back.

The San Francisco 49ers tight end has been out with a foot injury for the last six games, and when third-string Niners quarterback C.J. Beathard found out he was getting the start on Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals, he sent a text to his former Iowa teammate and told him to be sure he’d be ready to play.

It didn’t take long for the teammates to connect again when Beathard hit Kittle for a 24-yard pass on the 49ers’ second drive, kick-starting the momentum for an eventual 21 -yard touchdown pass to Jeff Wilson, Jr. to put the Niners up 7-3 in the first quarter.

Getting Kittle back in action is such a welcome sight:


It’s the Iowa alum’s ninth year together, dating back to their redshirt freshman seasons in 2012. Kittle arrived in Iowa City from Norman, Oklahoma, and Beathard came in from Franklin, Tennessee.

Kittle on Thursday called their long-time bond “pretty special,” adding: “He’s one of my best friends and he’s really excited. All he’s done is wait for an opportunity to play, and I’m excited to share the field with him again.”