After weeks and weeks of being clearly hobbled and relatively limited on the field, Indianapolis Colts' star linebacker Darius Leonard put the NFL on notice in Week 12 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He's all the way back.
Leonard, who was putting up Defensive Player of the Year-worthy numbers even on a bum ankle after offseason ankle surgery, looked like his old self on Sunday, flying around sideline to sideline, making plays left and right, including a spectacular punchout on Tampa Bay's Chris Godwin once again, marking his 10th forced turnover of the season.
What Darius Leonard can do on a football field is certifiably insane, and the Colts are darn lucky to have such a talented linebacker like him.
On Thursday, Leonard spoke with the media and stated that he feels like himself again, which is bad, bad news for the rest of the offenses on the Colts' schedule.
There are few better linebackers in the NFL than Leonard when fully healthy. That was fully evident Sunday against the Buccaneers as Leonard had a real spring in his step and looked as fast and explosive as he's looked all season.
"“I felt amazing. Yeah, I did," Leonard said to reporters Thursday, according to video via Colts. com. "Even just watching the tape, when I was blitzing, my blitz pattern was way faster. Then when the ball was on the opposite number, I’m running way over there making a tackle. I looked like myself for the past three years last Sunday so hopefully I can continue to just get better and feel comfortable.”
There were times on tape early in the season in which Leonard looked uncomfortable, unsure of himself and simply couldn't move. Now though, that doesn't appear to be the case, which is just the jolt the Colts' defense needs down the stretch.
Leonard certainly still has some flaws as a defender, but having his speed and overall burst back will be huge for a defense that is starting to get healthy at the right time and is playing relatively well, even after allowing 38 points in Week 12 against Tampa Bay.
When Leonard feels good, he plays good. That goes for the Colts' defense as a whole. Look out, NFL.
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