Keanu Neal: “I feel like myself again” after recovery from torn Achilles

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Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal has appeared in just four games combined over the last two seasons as serious leg injuries forced him to injured reserve.

Neal missed all of last year because of a torn Achilles sustained last September against the Indianapolis Colts. Now nearly nine months removed from the injury, Neal says he’s back to where he needs to be.

By God’s grace, I feel awesome,” Neal said on NFL Network, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I feel like myself again. I’m grateful.”

After a trip to the Super Bowl in 2017, Neal went down with a torn ACL in the Falcons’ season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. That injury forced him to miss the final 15 games of the 2018 season while on injured reserve. Neal then started each of Atlanta’s first three games last year before the Achilles tear ended his year in September for the second straight season.

“These past couple of years have been tough,” Neal said “I try not to look at the negatives. I try to think positive about it. I’ve (had) a lot of opportunities to spend time with my wife, family, friends and groom myself personally. It’s been tough, but it’s been a great time. I feel really good mentally and physically.”

Neal made the Pro Bowl in 2017 during his last full season of play. He appeared in all 16 games for Atlanta and recorded 116 tackles with an interception, three forced fumbles and six passes defended. Neal’s absence has hampered the Falcons Defense each of the last two years as Atlanta has ranked in the bottom third of the league in points allowed. A healthy Neal would be a big boost for the Falcons’ secondary.

“I’m ready to get back with the guys and get everything going,” Neal said.