Though the 2021 season came to a embarrassing, frustrating staff for the Indianapolis Colts, the downtrodden franchise received some great news Friday as a trio of players earned First Team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press.
Running back Jonathan Taylor, linebacker Darius Leonard, and long snapper Luke Rhodes were named to the AP's First Team All-Pro list, tying for the league-high of three with the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams.
Taylor becomes the first Colts running back to earn a first team All-Pro honor dating back to Edgerrin James in 1999. The second-year running back, who led the league in rushing with 1,811 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, was named a unanimous All-Pro, becoming one of just five to be named unanimously to the All-Pro list.
The star running back became the youngest player in NFL history with at least 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns in a single season, and his 20 total touchdowns tied the Colts' franchise record set by Hall of Famer Lenny Moore in 1964.
Leonard, who is also making a case for the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award, finished the season with 122 tackles, eight forced fumbles, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries, four pass break-ups and three tackles for a loss.
His dominant season and subsequent All-Pro honor puts him in rare air in the Colts' history, joining teammate Quenton Nelson and Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jim Parker as the only players in franchise history to earn First-Team All-Pro honors in three of his first four seasons, according to Colts.com.
Rhodes, one year after earning Second Team All-Pro honors in 2020, lands on the first team this season after appearing in 16 of 17 games for the Colts, playing a vital role in the Colts' kicking game remaining on track after losing Rodrigo Blankenship early in the season and inserting Michael Badgley into the lineup.
Aside from the three first teamers, Nelson and special teams ace Ashton Dulin earned Second-Team AP All-Pro honors while center Ryan Kelly, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, special teamer Matthew Adams and special teamer E.J. Speed all received All-Pro votes, according to the Associated Press.
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