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Offseason Notebook

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Offseason Notebook: Darius Leonard Undergoes Back Procedure As Colts Begin Mandatory Veteran Minicamp

The Colts expect Leonard to miss a portion of training camp but believe the three-time All-Pro linebacker can be on track for the start of the regular season. 

Darius Leonard

Colts linebacker Darius Leonard underwent a procedure on his back on Tuesday, head coach Frank Reich said.

  • The issue that led to the procedure had cropped up this offseason and didn't improve, leading the Colts and Leonard decide to "get ahead of it (and) don't let it progress further," Reich said.
  • The rough timetable: "He'll miss some training camp time, but if all goes according to plan, he should be ready to go for the regular season," Reich said, adding he's "optimistic" about the procedure and prognosis.
  • Leonard, a three-time First-Team AP All-Pro who led the NFL with eight forced fumbles in 2021, will not need a second procedure on his ankle, Reich said.
  • "My mind is saying as long as he's ready for the regular season," Reich said. "Does he need to play in the preseason, sure, it'd be nice to play a little bit but if that doesn't happen, I'm not worried about it."

Leonard and safety Khari Willis (personal) were excused from Tuesday's mandatory veteran minicamp practice at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

  • A handful of players were limited or did not participate due to precautionary reasons, including running back Jonathan Taylor and cornerback Kenny Moore II.
  • Quarterback Matt Ryan continued to string together impressive throws during full-speed seven-on-seven work (the Colts also conducted up-tempo walkthrough periods of 11-on-11). Ryan's accuracy, anticipation and arm strength all shined during OTA practices open to the media over the last few weeks, too.
  • Cornerback Isaiah Rodgers has consistently made plays during OTAs into Tuesday's minicamp opener, too. "We feel like Isaiah's a great cover corner," Reich said. "Smart, instinctive, great ball skills — if he's near it, if he's got a chance to catch it, he's gonna catch it because of his ball skills. He's continued to progress really well. We got a lot of confidence in Isaiah."

Left guard Quenton Nelson also met with the media after Tuesday's practice.

  • Nelson underwent two procedures last offseason before undergoing a third on a broken bone in his foot early in training camp – and then during the season he battled a back issue and an ankle injury, the latter of which landed him on injured reserve for three weeks.
  • Nelson, though, will enter his fifth training camp with the Colts feeling "good, strong, healthy – just ready to go," he said. "I'm excited for camp, I'm not going in there with two surgeries."

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