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Shaq Leonard: ‘Long journey’ to get back on the field

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaq Leonard was back on the football field at the team’s first practice of training camp on Wednesday morning.

Leonard underwent two back surgeries last season, limiting his time on the gridiron.

“It felt good to get back out there,” Leonard said. “First time in a while that I’ve felt this good.”

Leonard not only took part in individual drills Wednesday, but also in the seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 portions of the practice.

“I felt like this was a game day for me,” Leonard said. “First time in a while, no sleep last night, jitterbugs all morning, I probably didn’t truly feel like myself until after individual. I was so nervous, then after that, it felt like right where I left off. Coming in and being a leader for this team and being able to run around and hopefully make some plays.”

Leonard only played in three games last year for the Colts.

“It’s been a long journey,” Leonard said. “You see a lot of bad things. People thought that I was just sitting out just to sit out and not understanding that I was fighting my tail off to get back and be the best version of myself for this team. And to come out here and just hearing the crowd’s excitement just for me getting back on the field, that was just reassurance that these fans are still with me and I’m doing something right. And hopefully I can continue to make them proud.”

The Colts practice again in front of the fans Friday morning at Grand Park.