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Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard watches from the sideline during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Aug. 20 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

INDIANAPOLIS — On another crowded practice report Thursday, the good news continued to center around Shaquille Leonard.

There’s an extra pep in the three-time All-Pro linebacker’s step this week — a return of some of the juice the Indianapolis Colts have been missing in his absence.

It’s obviously a positive development that Leonard has been a full participant in back-to-back practices this week, but he’s not yet ready to comment on his status for Sunday’s road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“We’re going to find out,” Leonard said in front of his locker at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. “We’ll find out soon.”

Leonard’s 2022 debut could aid a defense that had some communication issues during a 20-20 tie at the Houston Texans on opening weekend.

Chief among them were some route-matching issues that helped Houston quarterback Davis Mills throw a pair of touchdown passes to tight end O.J. Howard.

“I didn’t think our spacing was good at times,” Indianapolis defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “Just overall, we’ve got to improve on that. We talked to the group about, OK, we took a test and we’ve got our grades back. We now know where our standard is and where we have to go from there. There’s some things that we’re not real clean on yet, but we’re getting there.

“Give credit to the Texans, some of the things that they did. It was addressed — and I think the players recognized it during the game — that, at times, they got a little bit off-kilter on some of their landmarks. So we’ve got to work on our spacing and understand the different calls that we have and where they need to be located. Some were just alignment errors. We were misaligned, and it didn’t allow us to be in the perfect position to make some of those plays.”

Even with the errors, the Colts allowed just 299 total yards to the Texans and an average of 4.4 yards per play.

Zaire Franklin started in Leonard’s place at middle linebacker and led Indianapolis with eight tackles.

Leonard was a vocal sideline supporter throughout the contest but admitted it was hard to watch his teammates play without him.

“It’s very hard, just standing there not being able to physically go out and help,” he said. “Just have to make sure that I was dialed in, letting the guys know exactly what I see, help them out in every form that I possibly can and make sure that all the pressure that was on them — kind of relieve some of it. Keep the guys corralled up and just push them all the way through.”


“It was great, got a little sneak peek of what it looks like. And when I was out here, I was just kind of like, ‘Man, I love blue.’ I was training down in San Diego (at) the beginning of the year, and I was staying with my half-brother and he loves the Colts. So we kind of would talk about it a little, and he was super excited when I got the Colts call for the mini-camp. So it’s just been all really cool.” — rookie Lucas Havrisik, who was one of two kickers signed Tuesday to compete to replace Rodrigo Blankenship, on his experience as a tryout participant in Indianapolis’ rookie mini-camp in May.


Beyond Leonard, there was not a lot of good news to be found Thursday on the injury front.

Rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce participated in a red non-contact jersey as he advances through the NFL’s concussion protocols. That was a step up from Wednesday, when he was a non-participant.

Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (hip), cornerback Kenny Moore II (hip) and wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (quad) did not participate.

It was a downgrade for Moore and Pittman, who were limited in Wednesday’s practice. Buckner has yet to practice this week.

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