Falcons’ hard-hitting safety, Keanu Neal tore his Achilles in Week 3 of Atlanta’s 2019 season which caused him to miss the remainder of the year. But, he’s back and gave an update on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” show.
Head coach Dan Quinn provided an injury update back in March saying on Neal and his rehab progression saying he was “exactly where he should be”.
But now, Neal said he finally feels like himself again and can’t wait to get back to work.
“Man by God’s grace I feel awesome, Neal said on Good Morning Football. I feel like myself again and I’m grateful, man.”
Neal’s Injury Galore
Neal’s presence on defense was thoroughly missed for yet another season in 2019. The year prior, he had torn his ACL early on which caused him to miss the entire 2018 season as well.
Neal said the last two season hasn’t been mentally easy for him but on the bright side he had a chance to work on himself while rehabbing.
“This past couple of years have been tough. But I try not to look at the negatives, I try to think positive about it, Neal said. I got a lot of opportunities to spend time with my wife, my family, friends, and grow myself personally so it’s been tough but it’s been a great time. But yeah like I said, I feel really good physically and I’m ready to get back with the guys and get everything going.”
Neal was an animal on the field prior to his two season-ending injuries. In his first season of the NFL in 2016, he earned a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie team after registering for 106 tackles. He was then named Pro Bowl in 2017 where he recorded 116 tackles.
To fill Neal’s void, Quinn started Damontae Kazee at free safety and moved Ricardo Allen to strong safety. Kazee has become a key player for the Falcon’s secondary after stepping in Neal’s shoes and recording 10 interceptions over the past two seasons.
With Neal healthy again, the Falcons will have three reliable safeties on the roster instead of only two like a traditional roster.
Neal is known widely throughout the NFL for his hard and clean hitting style.
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The former Florida Gator is considered a top-tier athlete for his size and has the closing speed to track the ball inside and outside of the tackle box. He is persistently a clean player in transitions and is very explosive when he sees an alley to the ball. Neal is also thick enough to get through blockers.
With Neal out two seasons now, it’ll be interesting to see if he performs the way the Falcons need him to. And if he does come back as normal, Neal has the ability to use his versatility and make a great impact on each down.
Neal Gets Married in Quarantine
In more exciting news for Neal, he married his beautiful fiance, Krizia, while in quarantine. He detailed on GMFB what that process was like.
They had originally planned to get married in March of this year, but then the coronavirus hit and they had some decisions to make.
“With COVID-19, you don’t know when it’s going to slow down. We ended up pushing it to the following year, Neal said. And as time went on we were just like, ‘let’s just get married’.
“We ended up getting married in my hometown church in Florida, in the church I grew up in. So it was a memorable moment. It was dope.”
The Falcons are certainly excited to have Neal back this season.