Colts’ Darius Leonard wants to be known as Shaquille from now on

Colts’ Darius Leonard wants to be known as Shaquille from now on

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Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard opened up training camp on Tuesday with some news.

He no longer wants to be known as Darius Leonard.

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Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Darius Leonard, #53, incites the crowd in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium Sept. 19, 2021.

Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Darius Leonard, #53, incites the crowd in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium Sept. 19, 2021. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The three-time All-Pro linebacker, who turned 27 on Wednesday, said he had been called Shaquille his whole life and now was the time to go back. His full name is Darius Shaquille Leonard.

“I went by Shaquille my whole life. My mom called me Shaquille. My friends and family called me Shaquille,” Leonard said, via FOX59. “I never went by Darius. Only in school or when I was causing trouble.”

He said he kept some things to himself on the advice from Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss.

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Darius Leonard, #53 of the Indianapolis Colts, on the field in the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Darius Leonard, #53 of the Indianapolis Colts, on the field in the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

“He said, ‘The best advice I can give you is keep your mouth closed and ears and eyes opened.’ So I just came in and wanted to work. I just went with it,” he said.

“I love being called Shaquille. Hate being called Darius. I understand it’s going to be hard, but would love it if y’all tried to call me Shaquille or D or Maniac and not Darius.”

Leonard is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) to start training camp after undergoing back surgery in June.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, #53, reacts during AFC practice at the Las Vegas Ballpark Feb. 5, 2022.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, #53, reacts during AFC practice at the Las Vegas Ballpark Feb. 5, 2022. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

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He is about to enter his fifth season with the Colts. He has been a Pro Bowler each of the first four seasons of his career.

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