Star linebacker Darius Leonard has been the heart and soul of the Indianapolis Colts defense since coming into the league in 2018. But Tuesday saw the young linebacker announce a notable change.

Leonard revealed on Tuesday that he would like to be called Shaquille instead of Darius. Shaquille is his middle name and the name that he has reportedly been called by those close to him throughout his life.

According to Colts team reporter Larra Overton, Leonard has been called Shaquille by his family since he was young. But he was hesitant to correct those who called him Darius early in his career, citing some advice from Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss for why he didn’t make a big deal of it.

It definitely makes sense that Leonard didn’t want to be vocal about his name preference early on in his career. He came into the NFL as a second-round pick in 2018 out of South Carolina State, an FCS school that isn’t typically seen as a NFL talent pipeline.

But Leonard has shown to be among the best defensive players in all of football throughout his four-year NFL career. He’s already made the Pro Bowl three times, while showing a knack for takeaways that have greatly impacted the Colts’ defense.

Leonard on his own had eight forced fumbles along with four interceptions in 2021. That was a huge reason that the Colts were second in all of football in turnovers forced last year.

Given his production on the field, Colts fans should have no problem with going with his preference of being referred to as Shaquille moving forward.

[Larra Overton]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.