As the Indianapolis Colts reported for training camp, “Darius” Leonard requested that everyone refers to him by a different name.
When someone asks who’s the best linebacker in football, there are possibly several answers they could get but the right answer is Indianapolis Colts linebacker, Darius Leonard. However, that’s no longer the case. Not because Leonard is no longer the best linebacker, but because he is no longer going by Darius.
On Tuesday, when the Colts reported for camp, Leonard spoke with the media and he revealed that he prefers not to be called Darius, saying, “I hate being called Darius. Growing up, I was only called Darius at school or when I was in trouble.”
So what would Leonard like for everyone to call him? Shaquille, his middle name and the name that his friends and family called him all his life.
Darius Leonard is now going by Shaquille Leonard
Darius said that growing up, everyone close to him called him Shaquille, but once he got to the NFL, the league started referring to him as Darius. The reason he didn’t correct things then is because he was a first-year player and he was thinking of some advice he got from Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss.
Leonard remembers Moss saying, “Keep your mouth closed, keep eyes & ears open.” As a result, Leonard didn’t make a big deal about it. However, he was making a name for himself on the field, so Darius Leonard was becoming a household name.
Leonard was first-team All-Pro as a rookie and led the NFL in tackles. He’s since been selected to three Pro Bowls and three more All-Pro teams, so his name had become very popular throughout the NFL.
Now, it’s time for everyone to slightly change that name when referring to Leonard. He does still go by The Maniac, but if referring to him by name, it will now be Shaquille. Additionally, when asked who is the best linebacker in football, the answer is Shaquille Leonard.