The NFL has been stuck in its ways in terms of upholding stern jersey number restrictions for certain positions, requiring personnel groups to wear specific digits since 1973.
But the league finally implemented a new rule this week that unlocks the number of positions that are eligible to wear single-digit numbers.
The Indianapolis Colts figure to be impacted by the news, as some players on the roster were forced to switch their respective jersey numbers from college upon entering the league.
One player who might consider a change is none other than linebacker Darius Leonard, who famously sported the No. 10 jersey at South Carolina State.
What makes us think Leonard could consider a number swap?
Well, he reposted an Instagram story from teammate and safety Khari Willis,
in a photo of him in action with his former Bulldogs. If you ask us, that sounds like solid evidence.
Colts linebacker Darius Leonard might consider a jersey number change.
You certainly can’t rule it out after looking at that. Then, he posted a photoshopped picture of a him wearing a No. 10 Colts uniform!
Leonard paying homage to his roots would serve as a major adjustment for Colts fans who’ve grown accustomed to his famed No. 53 jersey number. The former second-round pick has quite literally made it his own over his first three seasons in the league, being named to two All-Pro and Pro Bowls teams and winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2018.
The rule change will allow linebackers to choose from Nos. 1 through 59 and 90 to 99, giving Leonard the perfect opportunity to make a switch. If we know anything about Leonard, it’s that changing to No. 10 might unleash a version of him we haven’t seen yet in his career.
We all know the 25-year-old plays with a colossal chip on his shoulder, right? This is the same player who actively searches for criticism on Twitter before games for motivation and keeps the receipts of quotes from around the league that (intentional or not) disrespect him.
With that in mind, think about what Leonard will look like donning No. 10. After all, it will constantly remind him of how lightly recruited he was throughout high school and how overlooked he was coming out South Carolina State.
Though he obviously loves playing for the Colts, Leonard takes falling to the second-round extremely personally. In others words, for as much fans might love how he looks in No. 53, they should be be rooting for him to switch to No. 10, as it could bring out the very best in him.
That’s terrifying to think about given the level Leonard’s played at over his first three seasons.