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#pounditSunday, September 25, 2022

Colts star Darius Leonard asks media to call him by new name

Darius Leonard looking up

Aug 8, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Darius Leonard (53) looks at the video board against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Darius Leonard has become one of the biggest names in football with his stellar play since the Indianapolis Colts drafted him in 2018. Part of that name, however, is no more.

Leonard told reporters on Tuesday that he will go by “Shaquille” from now on. That is the star linebacker’s middle name and what his family calls him. He said he never wanted to correct anyone because Randy Moss advised him as a rookie to “keep your mouth closed.”

Fans are probably going to have a tough time getting used to that, which is a testament to Leonard. The former South Carolina State star is one of the best linebackers in football. He has never had fewer than 121 total tackles in a season and has made three consecutive Pro Bowls. Leonard had a whopping eight forced fumbles and intercepted four passes last season, which shows just how versatile he is.

Leonard underwent back surgery this offseason, but he is expected to be fully recovered by Week 1. He has earned the right to be called whatever he wants.

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