Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke had a career high 10 tackles as well as his first career interception against the Cleveland Browns. He also did it with a broken thumb.
First career INT for @BobbyOkereke.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 11, 2020
Before Week 5, Frank Reich detailed that the linebacking core of Okereke, Darius Leonard, and E.J. Speed all suffered injuries versus the Chicago Bears. Leonard did not play against Cleveland on Sunday, so Okereke told Kevin Bowen on The Dan Dakich Show that he had to find a way to play despite having a thumb procedure earlier in the week.
“I knew that I wanted to play as long as doctors said it was safe for me,” Okereke told KB. “Especially with Darius being out, I had step up for the team. We always talk about sacrifice, and obviously I fractured my thumb and was in some pain. But that’s my contribution to the team to try and help us win a game however I can.”
Okereke’s interception from Baker Mayfield added another chip to the table for the defense’s goal of 40 takeaways in the 2020 season. So far the Colts are third in the NFL with nine. The former Stanford Cardinal linebacker said he took that ball straight home after the game.
“I caught it and carried it with me all the way to the sideline,” Okereke said. “Now it’s at home in my closet with my other takeaway footballs.”
As impressive as it is to play with a broken thumb, Okereke swiped the interception wearing a thick club on his hand. He told KB that it took some getting used to at first.
“It’s basically a big cast on my thumb,” Okereke mentioned. “It keeps it in place and I can’t move it at all. And I have my four fingers out so I have to strike and punch in a different way. But there’s no excuses on the field.”
Leonard was still not practicing Wednesday due to his groin injury, so Okereke and the linebacking group will have to continue stepping up in “The Maniac’s” absence.
This week’s test: Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
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