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Shaquille Leonard: If I’m ready to go, I’m gonna play

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The Football Night in America team analyzes where the Kansas City Chiefs went wrong, after falling to the Colts 20-17 in Week 3.

Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll be part of the effort to stop the Titans offense this Sunday.

Leonard, who had back surgery in June, has not played in any games this season despite being a full participant in practice for the last two weeks. Head coach Frank Reich explained the decision to make Leonard inactive last week as the result of a collaborative decision between the player and team that found he didn’t feel or look like the player he was in previous seasons.

On Thursday, Leonard explained that there was no way he’d miss games if he believed he was all the way back and that he won’t do the team a disservice by playing if he thinks others can do a better job.

“I’m gonna say this because I’ve seen it all on social media: If I’m ready to go, I’m gonna play,” Leonard said, via Zak Keefer of TheAthletic.com. “Everybody know me: I love this game. Love it with all my heart, I’d do anything to play this game for 100 years so there’s no such thing as me standing on the sideline just because of me. So if I feel like I can play to the ability I know I can play at and help this team win? I’m gonna be out there. But if I think that my ability is putting the team in trouble? I gotta respect my decision to say OK, Zaire [Franklin] is playing a whole lot faster, the defense would be better with me standing on the sideline. It’s me looking myself in the mirror and telling the coaches that.”

Leonard at 100 percent would definitely make the Colts a better team, so they’ll be hoping that he feels back to that level as soon as possible.