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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius
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Jun 12 2019, 1:49 am - By liny195

Leonard was disappointed when his name didn’t appear on the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster Tuesday night.Now the league’s leading tackler intends to make all future opponents pay for the perceived snub.“He told me he’d have 40 tackles this week White Kareem Martin Jerseys , and I told him that’s humanly impossible,” tight end Eric Ebron said Wednesday.But if the Colts (8-6) have learned anything about their star rookie, it’s not to discount anything he says.When South Carolina State played Clemson in 2016, Leonard had 19 tackles against the eventual national champs and his childhood favorite, which never offered him a scholarship. His performance that day earned him the nickname “Maniac” around campus, a nickname he still clings to, and put him on the radar of Colts general manager Chris Ballard.Throughout the draft process, he heard from the critics again. This time they were questioning the level of competition he faced in college; how long it would take to make the transition from FCS to the NFL; and whether Ballard reached when he took Leonard at No. 36 overall, four picks into the second round, in April.Others questioned whether missing all of the Colts’ spring and summer workouts because of a bad hamstring would slow him down this season.Leonard has proved all of them wrong.Despite missing one game, at New England, he continues to lead the league with 146 tackles and needs 15 over the final two games to break Jeff Herrod’s single-season franchise record (160), a mark that has stood since 1991. And if Leonard’s play matches the hype Kareem Martin Jerseys 2019 , Herrod’s record could go down Sunday against the New York Giants (5-9).“It adds more fuel to the fire,” Leonard said when asked about missing the Pro Bowl. “It gives me more reason to go out and keep fighting. With everything I did and knowing it’s still not enough, I’ve got to put more on my resume.”Leonard views it as more of a promise than a warning and it fits his personality.While he revels in the underdog role, he routinely plays with a chip on his shoulder and continually sets his standards high. His goal each week is to get 25 tackles and he’s finished in double digits in seven of the Colts’ 14 games. He’s tied with Carolina’s Luke Kuechly for the most games with 10 or more tackles this season.But what the Colts have found in Leonard is much more than a tackling machine.His seven sacks are third most by a Colts rookie, trailing only Dwight Freeney (13) and Vernon Maxwell (7). Dee Ford, Khalil Mack and J.J. Watt — all Pro Bowlers — are the only players this season to force more fumbles than Leonard (4). He also has 12 tackles for loss, six passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.Andrew Luck spotted the potential almost from the first moment Leonard suited up for Indy. At the first training camp practice, Leonard made a leaping, acrobatic interception of the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.“I’ll be honest, the first couple of training camp practices I said ‘My goodness, he’s not supposed to be that fast and play linebacker,'” Luck recalled. “And then he went up for that interception and came down with it, and I just said ‘My goodness.'”Luck appreciates that he won’t have to contend with Leonard in a meaningful game. The rest of the league won’t be as fortunate.“I want to go out there every week and make every tackle Youth Kyle Lauletta Jerseys ,” Leonard said.“I like to set a crazy goal, so each week if it’s not 25 (tackles), I’m mad at myself.” INDIANAPOLIS 鈥?Andrew Luck has a one-track mind.With two regular-season games left, the Indianapolis Colts‘ quarterback insists he’s paying no attention to playoff possibilities, scoreboards or other teams’ schedules. Instead, he’s focused on the only thing he considers important this weekend 鈥?beating the New York Giants on Sunday.“I’ve been a part of teams where you sit and say, ‘We need this to happen with this.’ It doesn’t work like that,” Luck said. “You’ve got to handle your own business.”Few teams can match what the Colts (8-6) have done lately. They’ve rebounded from a 1-5 start to win seven of eight and put themselves back in the postseason hunt. After losing their first two home games, they’ve won five straight at Lucas Oil Stadium, and if they can beat the Giants (5-9), they could control their own playoff path.Coach Frank Reich doesn’t do business that way, though.The former NFL quarterback simply asks his players to do their jobs: Keep two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and Offensive Rookie of the Year contender Saquon Barkley in check; prepare for the possible return of Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr.; and expose the holes in New York’s defense.New York, meanwhile Kyle Lauletta Jerseys Stitched , hopes it can continue a strong second half after starting 1-7. While winning two of three and four of six, the Giants already have knocked off NFC North champion Chicago and playoff hopeful Washington. They will be playing spoiler at Indianapolis.“You’re chasing wins,” Manning said. “We’re football players and this is what we do. We play football, that’s our passion, that’s our job, and we’re going to go out there and do it well and be able to celebrate some wins.”It won’t be easy.Indy pitched its first shutout in four years while rushing for 178 yards against Dallas’ No. 3-ranked run defense last week. Luck is playing the best football of his career and the defense looks as stout as it has in almost a decade.The combination has made Indy a trendy pick as the team nobody wants to play, and if the Colts can win their last two, they could end a three-year playoff absence. But the Colts know they must stick to the plan.“I am just very convinced there is no other way to approach it,” Reich said. “I have been around a lot of good coaches, a lot of good players, (and) that is just what I have come to believe, experience and learn. There can’t be any wavering from that (focal point).”SACK HAPPYIt’s been feast or famine when it comes to sacks for the Giants. They had 14 in the first 11 games and then picked up five each in the next two weeks against Chicago and Washington.The added pressure resulted in four interceptions, including touchdown returns by linebacker Alec Ogletree against the Bears and Curtis Riley against the Redskins. Things got back to the norm in last week’s shutout loss to Tennessee when New York had one sack and no interceptions.Facing the Colts might not help. Indy has allowed just 16 sacks this season Corey Ballentine Jersey Boys , tied for fewest in the league.TACKLE WATCHRookie linebacker Darius Leonard acknowledged he was “heartbroken” not to make the AFC’s Pro Bowl team this week despite leading the league with 146 tackles.And he hopes to take out his frustration on the Giants this weekend. Leonard says his weekly goal is to get 25 tackles, though he’s upped the ante this week by saying he’s hoping to finish with 40. If he hits either mark, Leonard will break Jeff Herrod’s 27-year-old franchise record for tackles in one season.Leonard needs 15 tackles to move past Herrod (160).BARKLEY REBOUNDSPro Bowl running back Barkley was held to 31 yards on 14 carries in the loss to the Titans, his second-lowest total this season. The rookie ran for just 28 yards against Dallas in Week 2.The second pick overall in the draft also had 56 yards from scrimmage last week, marking the second time in 14 games he’s been held below 100.Despite the bad game, Barkley is third in the league in rushing with 1,155 yards and he is not looking for a break even though the Giants have been eliminated from playoff contention.“I would love my workload to be whatever it can be to help the team win,” Barkley said. “I’ve said multiple times, if that’s 10 carries or if that’s 40 touches. I bumped it up to 40 this time.”THE COMEBACK KIDLuck’s comeback season has been better than expected.His completion percentage (67.3) is at a career high and he’s six completions away from a career best in that category, too.What else? Luck heads into the final two games needing 810 yards and seven TD passes to break his previous career highs.100View Gallery Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj Mehta
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