'Hard Knocks In Season' Episode 5 recap: Darius Leonard details mental health journey

How do you go 1-0 on your bye week?

That's the question that head coach Frank Reich asks his team as the fifth episode of HBO's Hard Knocks In Season: The Indianapolis Colts opens.

His players appear stumped.

Reich's answer? By being fresh, hungry and prime for the last four games of the season.

Coming off a 31-0 rout of the Houston Texans, the Colts have improved to 7-6. They are in the thick of the playoff hunt.

But with the bye week upon them, Reich wants them to enjoy their time off, but warns them not to let their guard down and to keep their confidence up.

The last quarter of the season will determine whether or not this team gets its photo on the wall, an honor reserved for Colts playoff teams.


The main theme of Wednesday's episode is mental health awareness.

After touching on a bit of the history of the Colts' family ownership, the show focuses on owner Jim Irsay and his family and team's campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues, "Kicking the Stigma."

Colts linebacker Darius Leonard details his own struggles with mental health.

When he was 17, Leonard lost his brother and found himself in what he describes as his darkest moment. Not eating, losing weight, not going outside, that's when he realized he had to change his life. By opening up and reaching out, he became a better person and saw the bigger picture of life, bringing "joy, peace and happiness" to others.

One of the ways Leonard does so is by sponsoring "Shop With A Jock," where he takes local kids shopping for toys.

By discussing his mental health struggles, he also hopes to bring awareness to an illness that so often goes undetected.


Other highlights:

  • Cornerback Kenny Moore II is surprised by his mother, who reveals to him that he has been selected to be the Colts' nominee for one of the league's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. It's a heartwarming scene.
  • Xavier Rhodes and his wife prepare to have their daughter, Jersey Stone Rhodes, induced. Coincidentally, four years earlier, they had their first daughter, Journey, also on the bye week.
  • Jim Irsay travels to Washington, D.C., to showcase his collection of music and other cultural artifacts, such as Ringo Starr's pinky ring, guitars once owned by Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and John Lennon, as well as Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" scroll. One regret? Getting outbid on Wilson, the volleyball from Tom Hanks' Castaway.

And that, my friends, is your recap of the latest episode of Hard Knocks In Season. Sorry, there's no Spotify playlist. Apparently, my colleague Dan Hanzus was too busy hanging out with Kevin from The Office to put one together for me.

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