Indianapolis Colts 4x NFL All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard spoke Tuesday at Training Camp’s eve that he would like to now be called by his middle name ‘Shaquille’—as was previously customary before entering the league in 2018, instead of his first name Darius (via The Herald Bulletin’s George Bremer):
Darius Leonard notes he’s always gone by his middle name. People called him “Darius” coming in as a rookie, and he didn’t make waves. Moving forward, he would preferred to be addressed by Shaquille. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) July 26, 2022
I went by Shaquille my whole life and I understand that it’ll be a hard change to be called Shaquille after being called Darius for 4 years. It’s not a huge deal and it wouldn’t be no hard feelings if you called me Darius. Shaquille is my middle name that I’ve went by since 95.— Darius Leonard (@dsleon45) July 26, 2022
Such a switch will take some time in getting used to for Colts fans and the media alike, but it’s a credit to Leonard that he was comfortable finally speaking up and setting the record straight on his name preference.
Coming off offseason back surgery (specifically to repair two discs in his back), Leonard also noted that while he’s felt immediate relief (including in his leg/ankle) and is progressing well in his recovery, he’s not putting an exact timetable on his return at this time:
Darius Leonard not putting a timetable on his return. Surgery was to repair two discs in the back that were causing pain all the way down his leg. Feels relief already. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) July 26, 2022
Leonard is currently on preseason or ‘active’ PUP, but the team’s initial expectation was that he would be ready by the Colts regular season opener (Sunday, September 11th against the Houston Texans).
However, the situation obviously still remains fluid in regards to his exact return to the football field.