Colts linebacker Darius Leonard is feeling like a new man after having back surgery in June and he’d like to be called by a new name once he’s ready to get back on the field.
Leonard met with reporters as the team reported to training camp on Tuesday and revealed that his family has always referred to him by his middle name Shaquille even though he’s gone by his first name Darius on the field. He said he was hesitant to say anything earlier in his career, but feels comfortable sharing his preference as he moves into his fifth NFL season.
“I was only called Darius when I was in school or when I was in trouble,” Leonard said, via Larra Overton of the team’s website.
Leonard’s surgery addressed two discs that were pressing on a nerve and contributing to pain in his legs and ankles last season. Leonard declined to give a timeline of when he’ll be back, but said that he’s pleased with how things have gone since the operation.
“The way I’m going, I’m very happy,” Leonard said. “Get ready to rock n’ roll when time comes.”
Leonard’s made three All-Pro teams in his first four seasons, so the Colts will likely be happy to welcome him back by calling him by any name he likes once he’s ready to play again.