AFC Notes: DeAndre Hopkins, Shaq Leonard, Colts, Texans, Titans


Colts LB Shaq Leonard said he’s feeling the best he’s felt in a while entering 2023.

Today was the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Leonard said, via Stephen Holder of ESPN. “So I’m happy with it.”

Leonard admitted that trying to rush back too quickly last year resulted in subsequent back surgery.

I felt like last year, I was just so eager to get back out there, and I feel like I hurt myself again,” he said. “That’s why I had the second surgery in November. So, [I’m] learning from that and learning how to take it slow.

After taking part in non-padded 11 on 11 practice, Leonard admitted there was an adjustment period to get back in the swing of things.

I was nervous,” he said. “I felt like this was a game day for me. First time in a while — no sleep last night, jitter bugs all morning. I probably didn’t truly feel like myself until after individual [drills]. I was just so nervous. And after that, it just felt like where I just left off at, just coming in and just being a leader for this team and just being able to just run around, hopefully make some plays.”

  • Colts GM Chris Ballard said LB Shaq Leonard has passed his physical but will still be in a ramp-up phase: “That does not mean he’ll be back in full contact.” (George Bremer)


Texans HC DeMeco Ryans hopes the younger players on the team’s offensive line listen to all the advice LT Laremy Tunsil has to offer.

“I think Laremy can add stability,” Ryans said, via Texans Wire. “He can add that experience where guys have questions, like for our rookies and younger guys, to lean on those veterans who have done it at a high level and a long time, right? Pro Bowl, All Pro, whatever those accolades have been, he’s been one of the top left tackles in the league. How can you gain some type of knowledge from a guy as a young player? I’m expecting our young guys to be sponges, hoping Laremy shares as much as possible to train the next guys who are coming after him to give them all the tips and tricks of the trade,” Ryans added.


Titans WR DeAndre Hopkins told reporters that he is looking forward to being a mentor to other wide receivers in the room.

“I approach it as a challenge to help those guys get to where they want to get to,” Hopkins said, via Turron Davenport of ESPN. “Obviously, it’s about the team, so whatever I can do to help those guys on and off the field, that’s what I’ll do. As much as people say I don’t practice, I don’t think you can put up the type of numbers I have without practicing. Of course, that’s overblown. I think that started in Houston when they were trying to, well whatever. It’s overblown.”

The team has a specific practice plan for Hopkins, who told HC Mike Vrabel that he will miss a few days of training camp due to a prior engagement.

“I respect how he’s handled that, allowing me to take personal leave to handle some family things,” Hopkins added of Vrabel. “That’s who Vrabel is. That’s part of the decision why I came here.”

  • Titans S Kevin Byard said the goal behind restructuring his contract was to dow hat was best for the team and to try and win a championship. (Terry McCormick)

Looking for the latest NFL Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow NFL Trade Rumors on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NFL News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply