All the chatter surrounding the Indianapolis Colts this offseason has revolved around their search for their fourth starting quarterback in as many seasons.
Given that it’s the most important position in the sport and the Colts are seemingly a franchise-caliber guy away from being able to compete for a championship, it makes total sense why their pursuit has garnered so much national attention.
If you asked us, however, the latter point proves that Indianapolis’ identity shouldn’t boil down to the quarterback position…at least until they find their next Andrew Luck.
In the meantime, linebacker Darius Leonard should be regarded as the team’s head honcho. And he’s proving why every time he opens his mouth this offseason.
Not only is Leonard the leader of the defense and the locker room, but he always manages to say the right thing in front of the microphone.
If you don’t believe that the perennial Pro Bowler should shoulder this responsibility, go take a look at the comments he made regarding Philip Rivers retirement and the Colts’ ongoing quest to find a new QB.
Don’t get tricked into thinking that Darius Leonard isn’t the face of the Colts.
"“It was definitely a complete shock,” Leonard told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “You know, just talking to him a couple of days before he announced, he still didn’t know what he was gonna do. Me personally, I do believe that he has some left in the tank. He played very well this year for us and I thought he was going to come back the next year and do the same exact thing and play even better.”"
That quote really did wonders in terms of encapsulating Leonard’s leadership ability, but this next one is guaranteed to make fans want to run through a brick wall.
When it comes to who the front office brings in at quarterback, the 2018 second-round pick just wants someone who will buy into what the Colts have been building these last few seasons.
"“I honestly don’t care who’s the quarterback, as long as the quarterback comes in with the right mentality and they’re gonna help us win ball games,” Leonard continued. “I don’t care if he’s young, I don’t care if he’s old, I don’t care if he’s well-known or not. If you’re going to come in and put the team first and help us win ball games, come on down to the Indianapolis Colts.”"
The media’s around-the-clock coverage about the Colts’ quarterback conundrum could make it easy to forget how essential Leonard is to the defense, locker room and overall ethos, but we’re not about to let that happen.
The All-Pro linebacker might be just 25 years old and only have three years of playing experience under his belt, but his cavalier attitude while weathering the team’s QB vacancy proves that he’s the face of the franchise. Go peep his cutthroat comments about free agents considering Indianapolis as a potential destination and try convincing us us otherwise.
It’s not often you see a player of Leonard’s talent (and age) assume the voice-of-wisdom role on a young team as seamlessly as he has, and it confirms that he’s the only player deserving of being anointed as the Colts’ identity. And that should remain the case long after Indy’s quarterback search has concluded.
After all, what we’re building is a fire-breather like Leonard, and the rest of our additions have to fall in line.