Darius Leonard is Colts’ Michael Jordan in world of Twitter trolls
By Jerry Trotta
If you thought Colts LB Darius Leonard doesn’t use social media criticism as motivation, think again.
It’s pretty apparent that Darius Leonard has established himself as the centerpiece of the Indianapolis Colts defense. What makes his ascension to superstardom so compelling is that he didn’t travel down the beaten path to get to this point.
From failing to receive a scholarship from an esteemed collegiate program — Clemson was his dream school — to falling to the second round of the 2018 Draft, most of Leonard’s football career has been defined by the renowned underdog mentality.
Given that Leonard has been one of the most productive linebackers in the NFL since he entered the league, you would think he couldn’t care less about what critics and social media trolls have to say about his craft, right? Well, think again.
In his latest piece for The Athletic, reporter Stephen Holder brilliantly highlighted Leonard’s obsession with reading criticism. If you decipher some of the quotes he uttered in the article, you’ll come to the realization that he’s the Colts version of Michael Jordan when it comes to proving a point to those who question his ability.
If you think that’s borderline psychotic (in a good way), you’ll get a real kick out of Leonard’s pregame routine. According to Holder, the All-Pro linebacker types his name into the search bar on Twitter and proceeds to identify some of the most scathing remarks he can find.
As you would expect, Leonard’s cutthroat mindset is amplified tenfold when the Colts end up on the losing side of games.
So much so, in fact, that he doesn’t even welcome the support of his loving family. Instead of seeking comfort and assurance, the 25-year-old stud heads right back to the drawing board to find ways he can improve.
The most telling example we can recall this season of Leonard using someone else’s comments as motivation came when Aaron Rodgers called 49ers budding star Fred Warner the best LB in the league back in Week 9. He responded by recording six tackles, a pass defended and a fumble recovery in what ultimately proved to be a colossal overtime victory for the Colts.
For Indianapolis’ sake, let’s hope that haters are spewing nothing but vitriol about Leonard leading up to a virtual must-win vs Houston on Sunday. Assuming he plays after being limited in practice this week with a back injury, fans should expect another stalwart performance from him.