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‘Shaq is Back’: Colts LB Shaquille Leonard Returns to Practice on Wednesday

New England Patriots v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

According to multiple local sources, Indianapolis Colts 4x NFL All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard returned to team practice for the first time since undergoing offseason back surgery—as he was just activated off of preseason PUP on Tuesday.

He practiced in a somewhat limited capacity with his positional group:

While there’s no guarantee that Leonard is ready for the regular season opener on the road against the Houston Texans (September 11th), it does put him in a good position to make his debut some time within the first four weeks of the 2022 campaign—if there are no setbacks:

Not only will Leonard have to ramp up his physical activity and conditioning here in a hurry, but he’ll also have to learn a new position—as he transitions from ‘Will’ to ‘Mike’ in new Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s evolved ‘Cover 3’ scheme.

Either way, when fully healthy, Leonard is a difference maker for the Colts defense, as a dynamic linebacker who can tackle, cover, blitz, and create numerous takeaways. He’s one of the Colts’ best players and an elite defensive player overall in the NFL.