Darius Leonard: 'Retirement never' came from me

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard hasn't played since the second week of the season, having been sidelined with a concussion.

He wants to make it clear that he does not intend for that to be the last game of his career, despite some comments that drew concern in regards to just that.

"Retirement NEVER once came out of my mouth!" Leonard tweeted, in part, on Monday night. "My goal is 15 years and I'm going to take it day by day to reach my goal."

Leonard, the 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, felt a need to clarify after comments he made to The Athletic on Monday.

"The third week, that's when I really started thinking, 'Wait a minute. Now I have a wife and kid. I've had a headache for three weeks. Will I ever be the same? Do I keep playing?' You have those thoughts in the back of your head," Leonard said.

The comments no doubt prompted concern from a Colts faithful that is likely to still have worries about retirement in the back of its collective head.

A tackling terror as a rookie, Leonard racked up a league-high 163 tackles along with seven sacks, eight passes defended and two interceptions in an All-Pro debut.

Two games into his sophomore campaign and Leonard was well on his way to another stellar season, having contributed 18 tackles and a sack.

Now he's on his way back, having cleared concussion protocol and returned to practice.

"It was definitely tough being away from the team, not being able to go out there and help your brothers out," Leonard said. "It definitely was rough, especially when I couldn't even be on the sidelines. It was definitely a tough time for me."

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