Colts Linebacker Shaquille Leonard Triumphs Over Adversity To Return To The Field

Photo: Instagram/Shaquille Leonard

Colts outside linebacker Shaquille Leonard's 2022 season was plagued by injuries, but he has finally reached a point where he feels like himself again.

Participating in training camp this week marked the first instance of Leonard playing football with pads on since Week 9, a significant milestone in his recovery that he acknowledged. Expressing his emotions, Leonard revealed, "It was very emotional just to come out here and have full contact and get back to playing football."

His journey to recovery has been a long one, but he is thrilled to be back on the field. The 2022 season saw Leonard dealing with various health issues. He initially missed games while recovering from back surgery during the offseason.

Photo: Instagram/Shaquille Leonard

Upon returning in Week 4, he encountered a concussion and a broken nose, leading to an additional three-week absence. Although he managed to participate in a couple more games, recurring back problems necessitated surgery, and he spent the rest of the season on injured reserve.

Throughout this challenging period, Leonard only played 74 snaps across three games, registering eight tackles and an interception. For someone who had been a consistent standout in his position, making three Pro Bowl appearances in his first four years and rarely facing injury setbacks, this time was undoubtedly tough.

Leonard admitted that there was a point during his recovery when he questioned whether he would ever return to the field. He recounted moments of pain and doubt but stressed the importance of focusing on small victories every day and trusting the process.

Now, as he enters camp, Leonard believes he's nearly back to full health. His goal is not just to regain his previous form but to enhance his skills and address any weaknesses in his game.

He emphasized the need for intense film study to better understand opponents' strategies and position himself for success. Leonard acknowledged that he may have areas where he's slower, and he's committed to improving in those aspects.

The Colts have yet to announce whether Leonard and other starters will participate in the preseason. Nonetheless, it's evident that his return to the game will be an emotional moment, regardless of when it occurs.

After enduring a challenging period of injuries and uncertainty, Leonard is now focused on making the most of his opportunity and contributing to his team's success.

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Source: NFL


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