On Tuesday, the Indianapolis Colts made the shocking move to release star linebacker Shaquille Leonard. While many expected the move to happen during the offseason, Indy did it coming out of a Week 11 bye. The move created a cold, abrupt ending for one of Indy’s best players and stories in recent memory. Fortunately, the Colts and the fans had the opportunity to provide Leonard with a sense of closure on Sunday.
During the Week 12 game between Indianapolis and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indy played a tribute video for Leonard. To many’s surprise, the jumbotron then showed Leonard and his family sitting in a suite, in attendance for the game. The crowd erupted, showing Leonard a ton of love and thanking him for all that he gave to Indianapolis the last six years.
Shaquille Leonard in attendance for Colts game after being released
Leonard being in attendance, despite being cut just days ago, shows the love he has for the franchise. The response from Lucas Oil Stadium shows the love that fans have for Leonard, despite the team and Leonard going different directions now, it’s clear that everybody is thankful for what was and that there will always be love shared.
Hours after being released, Leonard did admit that he was hurt by the fact that he wouldn’t be able to finish the season with the team. Even if he had to take a backseat role, he was willing to do so just so he could support his teammates. He won’t have that opportunity but he made sure to show up on Sunday to support the team.
Soon, Leonard’s Sundays will once again be occupied. He made it clear that he doesn’t want to retire, and he’s already receiving interest from some top teams. Eventually, he’ll be back on the field in a different uniform for the first time in his career.