Despite dealing with injuries in the linebacker position, the Indianapolis Colts are not counting on veteran Shaquille Leonard to play a significant role in their defense in the coming weeks. The news didn’t sit well with the three-time Pro Bowler, who expressed his frustration about lack of playing time while talking with reporters on Thursday.
According to Leonard, he was notified by the Colts’ linebackers coach, Richard Smith, that he would receive limited snaps and wouldn’t be on the field on third downs.
“So that’s when I kind of knew, and it sucked hearing that,” Leonard said. “You’re already not playing on third [down]; you’re taking the reps on second down too? So it’s very heartbreaking to get that, but it is what it is.”
The Colts lost middle linebacker Zaire Franklin to a knee injury but opted to start second-year player Segun Olubi in his place. Leonard, on the other hand, has been splitting his reps with EJ Speed on the outside linebacker position.
After making the All-Pro team in each of his first four years as a pro, Shaquille Leonard had an injury-riddled 2022 campaign that saw him play only three games. There is a possibility that the Colts still don’t believe Leonard returned to his previous form, and that is why they are limiting his snaps.
Leonard is still having a solid year despite a lack of playing time. He has recorded 56 tackles, including two tackles for loss in eight games he appeared in.