The 4-5-1 Indianapolis Colts just can't catch a break this season. Shaquille Leonard, the team's three-time Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro linebacker, underwent season-ending back surgery Wednesday morning, knocking him out the rest of the year according to NFL Media.
It's the second back surgery in about half a year for the linebacker, the first of which he revealed during training camp, per 107.5 FM in Indianapolis. Leonard had a procedure done during the offseason to deal with discs in his back sitting on a couple of nerves, something that had been causing him to feel pain in his ankle. The Colts placed him on injured reserve Saturday, and now the hope is that he can fully heal and get back to the historic level of play he had on the field from 2018-2021, his first four seasons.
The 36th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of South Carolina State became the only player since at least 2000 to record 500 or more tackles, 15 or more sacks and 15 or more forced fumbles in his first four seasons. His historic play earned him a five-year, $98.5 million contract extension, the largest for any linebacker by total and average annual value, that he signed prior to the 2021 NFL season. Leonard played in just three games this season, recording 11 tackles and an interception.