Falcons Safety Slims Down to ‘Move Better’

Keanu Neal

Getty Keanu Neal #22 of the Atlanta Falcons.

Falcons’ safety, Keanu Neal is back and feeling better than ever after tearing his Achilles in Week 3 last season, which caused him to miss the remainder of the year.

Last year marked his second season-ending injury so know he’s weighing in on his health, literally. Neal worked to lose 13 pounds this offseason.

“I slimmed down for a reason just so that I can move better,” Neal said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Kind of get back to my rookie weight. So, it’s been working out really well. I’m moving around a lot better. I’m moving around like myself. So, I’m excited with where I’m at.”

Neal went from weighing 220-something pounds, down to 212.

Falcons Expect A Lot From Neal

With Neal healthy again, the Falcons will have three reliable safeties on the roster instead of just two, like a traditional roster.

Neal is known widely throughout the NFL for his hard and clean hitting style. 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.

“Recently, I kind of told myself that I’m starting to get my groove back,” Neal said. “I’m starting to see things again. A play that I can be faster on. I saw that after the fact. Next time I get that, I can be there. It’s all coming back.”

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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 on NFL Network over quarantine that 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.”

Neal’s wedding date was set until the pandemic happened but they decided to go through with a virtual wedding since they’ve been waiting so long.

A Lot of Faith in Himself

Neal was a beast 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. But, Neal is ready to get his spot back.

“I’m in this space. Everything happens for a reason,” Neal also told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . “Now, it’s just putting in the work and trusting in him. I don’t really stress about the mental side much. I just put in the work, and all of my faith is in him.

“Whatever happens, happens. It’s in his plan.”

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