May 28, 2024

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) The Philadelphia Eagles signed three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard to a contract on Monday for the rest of the season.

On Sunday night against Dallas, the Eagles (10-2) who are the reigning NFC champions, should have Leonard available to play. After being waived by the Colts in the latter part of last month, Leonard had visits with the Eagles and Cowboys.

He openly voiced his displeasure over the Colts’ reduced playing time this season. He could have a big impact right away on an Eagles team looking to win the Super Bowl again.

Although injuries have slowed Leonard, he should still be able to help the Eagles defense, which has struggled over the last two weeks, including a humiliating loss to San Francisco on Sunday. In Week 12, the 49ers defeated the Bills with over 500 yards and touchdowns on six consecutive possessions.

Indianapolis took Leonard with the 36th overall draft pick in 2018. Leonard led the league with a franchise-record 163 tackles. He won the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2018.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni was Indianapolis’ offensive coordinator when Leonard played for the Colts.

Sirianni remarked, “He had a knack for the football and knew how to get it.” “As an offensive coordinator, I recall how difficult it was to throw him around.” His stature was similar to Syracuse’s 2-3 zone under Jim Boeheim. He’ll try something in the passing lane.

Leonard became the first rookie teammates to be chosen for the first team All-Pros since Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers (Bears) in 1965, along with left guard Quenton Nelson.

That was just the beginning.

Leonard made three All-Pro teams and three Pro Bowls in his first four seasons, becoming one of the league’s most feared defenders.

He was rewarded in 2021 with a five-year contract extension worth $99.25 million, which made him the NFL’s highest-paid off-the-ball linebacker. He was best known for his ability to chase down opponents and his penchant for creating turnovers.

But even though he appeared to be his usual self in 2021, leading the league in forced fumbles (eight), he was hurting. Leonard played through significant leg pain, which was later determined to be a nerve injury that required back surgery before the 2022 season.

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