INDIANAPOLISIt was a difficult season for the team, after what had been a promising season. The season was crashing around the linebacker, and the rest the organization.
He was constantly bothered by an ankle injury. Family members who are dealing with health problems. COVID-19 was a major problem for key team members, including him. And to cap things off, the Colts’ playoff aspirations came to a screeching halt with aThe Despite his win, he ended up with the league’s worst record. Jim Irsay, the owner of the team, was furious about the season-ending loss on the plane ride home as well as inside the facility upon his return.
Some four-plus months later, Leonard, who often tries to keep his best game face on in front of the camera, acknowledged things weren’t right with him last season.
“I fell out of love with the game,” Leonard said. “I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.”
That’s something nobody would have ever imagined coming out of Leonard’s mouth. Not the same Darius Leonard who uses every kind of negativity as a motivation when he was making countless tackles, intercepting passes or attacking like Mike Tyson when he punches the ball out of opponents’ hands for a forced fumble.
But that’s how Leonard felt after the Colts couldn’t beat the Jaguars in a game in which the defense had no answers for rookieand Jacksonville’s offense in Week 18.
“The first month, I didn’t wanna go home, didn’t wanna be around anybody, didn’t wanna face it yet,” Leonard said. “Because the question was gonna come: What the hell happened in Jacksonville? And in that moment, I really didn’t know what happened.”
Leonard didn't think he would have to leave — even though the Colts were the most popular team in the NFL at one point, some pundits called them contenders for the AFC.
Even LeonardOver what turned out to be the most challenging season in his four-year NFL career (which also included three first-team All Pros), he was mentally and physically beaten.
“You hold in all your emotions,” Leonard said. “You put a smile on so many other people’s faces, and the time that you need it — a lot of people who are around you, they see you smile all the time; they don’t understand that just because I smile sometimes, I ask everybody how they’re doing — sometimes it’s OK to ask me how am I doing?
“Ask and truly have a conversation with me and understand that I’m human, too. I have issues. I experience many things that are common to many people. … You sit here and you feel like you have to hold a shade up with your personal life because your football life eats you up, and I just wasn’t in a good mental place because I wouldn’t be around my family whenever they needed it.”
The Colts' linebackers make up one of the most close groups on the roster. Other startersWe knew exactly what Leonard had been through over the past few months.
Franklin stated that the end of the season broke everyone's hearts in many different ways. He suggested that each person must go through his own healing process to get on track. “It was quite different for me. “I can see what Darius went though.
“That’s good for him, somebody who dedicates so much to the game and works so hard at it. Sometimes you just need to take a break from the game, spend time with your family, and get a better view of the world. I definitely feel like he’s in a better spirit this year. I'm telling [Leonard] all the time, I’m always there to support him, always have his back no matter what.”
Leonard is healthy and back. Defense has added several cornerbacks to make Leonard's return possible.(2019 NFL Defensive Player Award), defensive end Gus Bradley, the coordinator who took over Matt Eberflus' place as coach. .
“Made my happy, especially with rush, helping  [ ]Addition [Ngakoue]Leonard stated that there was a shut down corner in Gilmore. You can only imagine all the takeaways you'll have. Stephon is a master at tracking the ball. We have more opportunities to get takeaways. … There must be 40 take-outs in the season.