Former Colts LB Shaquille Leonard ‘waiting for this opportunity’ to play in 2024, but at peace with his career

After his 2022 season was derailed by a concussion, a broken nose and recurring back issues, Leonard returned to the Colts in 2023 in search of a bounce-back season. Instead, Indy cut the veteran after nine starts, sending the former face of its franchise to waivers where the then-defending NFC champion Eagles claimed him. Leonard played in five games with Philadelphia, recording 23 tackles and one sack. He was inactive due to Philly’s wild-card loss to Tampa Bay.

Now, with training camp a month away, Leonard, who turns 29 next month, is contemplating his future. If that’s the case for the veteran linebacker, he will leave the league with an impressive, if abbreviated, resume: 637 tackles, 31 passes defended, 17 forced fumbles, 16 sacks, 12 interceptions in 75 regular-season games.

But what Leonard will gain most from his time in pro football (if that’s all there is) is the relationships he built in Indy and with the Colts, who, despite being released in November, still embrace him.

“You’re lucky to be able to treat people with respect,” Leonard said. “I feel like I’m carrying myself the right way. I respect them and I respect their decision to stay away from me. It doesn’t take away from our relationship as people. It’s just a blessing to know that they are in my corner and will always be there if I need them.”

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