Shaquille Leonard reveals the moment he knew Colts QB Anthony Richardson was special

Star linebacker Shaquille Leonard learned pretty early that the Indianapolis Colts had a special quarterback in rookie Anthony Richardson.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard (53) chats with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard (53) chats with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner / Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar / USA TODAY

Shaquille Leonard experienced all of the quarterback changes for the Indianapolis Colts first hand. He was drafted by the team in 2018, Andrew Luck’s last season. While Leonard was becoming one of the best defenders in the league, he had to endure the team going from Luck to Jacoby Brissett to Philip Rivers to Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan. Like some of the other longest-tenured veterans on the team, Leonard publicly expressed his frustration with the quarterback carousel.

Everyone wanted consistency; a quarterback that would start for the team year after year. Finally, it seems like the Colts have that. In the 2023 NFL Draft, Indianapolis used the fourth-overall pick to select Anthony Richardson. Richardson was a polarizing prospect with a really high ceiling but some people thought it would take a while for Richardson to start trending up towards that ceiling.

Through three weeks of his rookie season, Richardson has already been impressive starting for the Colts. He has excelled with his arm and his legs, and has looked comfortable and decisive on the field. The biggest concern, so far, is that Richardson hasn’t finished a game healthy, and already missed a game with a concussion. If he can stay healthy, there’s confidence that he can be a special player.

It didn’t take long for Shaquille Leonard to see that. In a recent interview on 'NFL Total Access,' Leonard talked about the moment he realized the Colts had a guy in Anthony Richardson. Going back to training camp, Leonard said during a starting offense vs. staring defense period in the red zone, Richardson threw a corner route to a tight end, with perfect ball placement, and at that moment, Leonard knew Richardson was going to be special.

Shaquille Leonard knew Anthony Richardson would be special since training camp

Leonard also applauded his rookie quarterback for his performance so far this season, praising him for making the right checks, throws, runs, and just overall leading the offense. Now, Richardson has to pick up where he left off, after missing a week while being in concussion protocol.

With Shane Steichen running the offense, along with the way the offensive line has been playing, Richardson is seemingly in good hands, and is only scratching the surface of what he can be in this league.