In 2018, the Atlanta Falcons were plagued with injuries on both sides of the ball. Arguably, the most impacted position group was at safety where the team not only lost Ricardo Allen to a torn Achilles, but also Keanu Neal with a torn ACL. Both returned for the 2019 regular season healthy, but in Week 3, Keanu Neal went down with a torn Achilles against the Indianapolis Colts. The first update we received on Keanu Neal’s recovery came in February from head coach Dan Quinn.
“He’s doing good, he’s exactly where he should be, you know going through the process for him,” Quinn said. “He’s making great progress but same thing for him, that’s my expectation for him is just throwing like a hell of a rehab to go, and he knows what that looks like – you know in terms of length or rehab although, Achilles and ACL have different rehabs, for him knowing that he’s back running, he’s back doing the things that he needs to do, that’s a big step for him.”
Recently, Keanu Neal appeared on the Jim Rome Show where he discussed his own past injuries, recovery and eventual return to the football field following back-to-back season-ending injuries.
“It was tough. It was tough. I never would have thought going into the season that I would go through that,” Neal said. “You know with the ACL and everything, rehab was hard but I sat through it and made it through. But then, obviously the Achilles last year really hit hard. So, going through two season-ending injuries like that was really difficult. But, with God and everyone around me supporting me, the plan that I had rehab-wise, I’m feeling great. It was definitely tough, but I’m glad to be back.”
The Falcons are no doubt also glad to have Keanu Neal back. He’s proved when healthy to be a force on the field and one of the few hard-hitting safeties left in the game today. The safety group will have others competing for spots come training camp, with roughly 7 safeties currently on the roster. That can all be speculated as we draw closer to camp, but the biggest takeaway is Neal is back and ready to go, and there’s a starting job waiting for him.