On the eve of his 27th birthday, Darius Leonard has decided to make a distinct change entering his fifth NFL season.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday at Colts training camp, Leonard said he’d like to be called by his middle name, Shaquille, going forward, per Colts reporter Larra Overton.
Leonard explained that his family has always called him Shaquille growing up. The All-Pro linebacker said he was hesitant to correct people about his name as he entered the league in 2018, which was influenced by the advice given to him by Hall of Famer Randy Moss as a rookie to “keep your mouth closed, keep eyes and ears open.”
Added Leonard: “I was only called Darius when I was in school or when I was in trouble.”
Leonard is still recovering from back surgery he underwent on June 7. For the time being, Leonard remains shelved for the start of training camp, but he said the recovery has been going well.
“The way I’m going, I’m very happy,” Leonard said. “Get ready to rock ‘n’ roll when time comes.”
As Leonard goes forward with the name he grew up with, expect the same game-changing play he’s consistently produced for five seasons.