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Keanu Neal on NFC South: Hype means nothing without results

With a little more than a month before the reported start date of training camp for all NFL teams, safety Keanu Neal provided an update on his health.

Neal, 24, tore his Achilles in Week 3 of the 2019 season when the Falcons traveled to Indianapolis to take on the Colts.


The former first-round pick has now spent the last two seasons on injured reserve after tearing his ACL in the first game of the 2018 season against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"By God's grace, I feel awesome," Neal said. "I feel like myself again. These past couple of years have been tough, but I try to not look at the negatives, I try to think positive about it. I feel really good mentally and physically and I'm ready to get back with the guys and get everything going."

Since being drafted as the No. 17th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Neal has made a significant impact on Atlanta's defense. Neal was named to his first Pro Bowl following the 2017 season after recording 116 tackles, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Known for his physicality and ability to make plays on the ball, Neal's absence over the last two seasons has been noticeable. The Falcons finished No. 19 in the league in takeaways in 2019 with 20.

In the 34 games Neal has played in, he's forced eight fumbles and recovered three.

"My thing is to make my presence felt," Neal said. "Whoever is catching the ball, when I see them, when they see me, they just have to know I'm coming. So, that's my mindset."

As for Neal's thoughts on the talent the NFC South now has on offense with the addition of Tom Brady to the Buccaneers and Teddy Bridgewater to the Panthers, Neal doesn't pay too much attention to what's being discussed.

Talk means nothing to Neal, it's all about results.

"The NFC South is packed with talent," Neal said. "The whole hype thing, I don't look too much into it. We don't as team either. Hype without results means nothing in my eyes. The hype is the hype, once the season starts everything will fall into place."

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