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Neal Feels 'Blessed' To Be in Featured Role

Photos by Harry How - Getty Images

His first and second years in the league were ruined by injuries. Then there was a suspension. If Mike Neal were some anonymous late-round pick, he would have been long gone. Now, with a new position and a new body, Neal has assumed a critical role on the defense.

Mike Neal was a big bust. The muscle-bound Neal, a second-round pick in 2010, had done nothing in his first two seasons other than collect a paycheck and throw around 45-pound plates in the weight room with the ease the rest of us pick up a paper plate in the kitchen. In 2010, Neal played in two games. Two. The start of his season was derailed by an abdominal injury and it ended with a torn...

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