AFC Notes: Darius Leonard, Colts, Patriots, Titans


Colts LB Darius Leonard said his injured ankle is feeling “a whole lot better” after playing through a lingering injury last season. 

“It’s attached, it’s there,” Leonard said, via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “It feels a whole lot better than what it did, coming from the end of the season. A lot of time to rest, trying to make it stronger. I feel better coming into this season than I did last year, I can say that.”

Leonard is hopeful to not require another surgery on his ankle after undergoing a pair of operations in recent years. 

“I hope not,” Leonard said. “I think we did enough cleaning it up the past two times. … Now, it’s more strengthening up, controlling every movement I possibly can and making sure my body is taking that beating early so whenever I come to training camp, my body is used to cutting.”

Leonard realized last season that teams began directing plays away from him, which resulted in the linebacker finding alternative ways to be disruptive. 

“I was like, every team is moving away from me, how can I put myself in position to make a play or make a game-changing play,” Leonard said. “That’s when I started watching tape. that’s when I started stealing in-cut windows or punching at that ball, because on the tape, I’m seeing guys who don’t protect the ball as well. I had to find a way to be explosive.”

  • Colts LB Darius Leonard gave a brief comment on the status of his ankle injury: “It’s attached…I feel better coming in this season than it did last year.” (George Bremer)


  • Buccaneers scout Tony Kinkela is expected to join the Patriots’ staff with a “more senior role.” Kinkela spent 13 years with Tampa Bay and was part of the team’s scouting department that won Best Draft Award for their work in 2020. (Neil Stratton)


Titans WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine continues to see his opportunity increase as the team released WR Julio Jones and then traded WR A.J. Brown to the Eagles during the draft.

“It is going to be different,” Westbrook-Ikhine said, via Jim Wyatt of “I feel like I was very much still in a learning role the last couple of years, and now I am going to embrace this new opportunity. Being consistent, but being more explosive, working on getting yards after the catch, making contested catches, getting separation. Just being a complete receiver overall and most importantly continuing to gain that trust with Ryan (Tannehill) going into the season.”

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