Colts' Darius Leonard Says He Wants to Be Called by His Middle Name 'Shaquille'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 26, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 02: 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. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts star Darius Leonard reintroduced himself Tuesday ahead of the 2022 NFL season.

The three-time Pro Bowler told reporters he wants to go by Shaquille, his middle name and the one used by his family when he was growing up:

Larra Overton @LarraOverton

“I was only called Darius when I was in school or when I was in trouble.” <a href="https://twitter.com/dsleon45?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dsleon45</a> <a href="https://t.co/bdYyQaCwFE">https://t.co/bdYyQaCwFE</a>

That wasn't the only topic of discussion for Leonard.

The 26-year-old underwent back surgery in June and opened training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list. He said Tuesday he's unable to provide a time frame of when he'll be back but said he's "happy" with his recovery so far. He added the procedure may have benefits beyond healing his back because the injury was leading to pain in his lower body.

Leonard had ankle surgery during the 2021 offseason, yet his ankle continued to be a nagging issue across last year.

Zak Keefer @zkeefer

Bit of clarity on Darius Leonard's surgery: The ankle injury lingered, in part, b/c of a related calf issue. Calf wasn't firing last year, and docs believe that was due to a nerve in his back. Hence the back surgery. Team actually believes he'll be back at/near start of camp.

Despite not feeling 100 percent, Leonard played well enough to earn his second straight All-Pro nod. He finished with 122 tackles, four interceptions and an NFL-best eight forced fumbles.

Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson ranked the 6'2", 230-pound defender as the No. 43 overall player with the 2022 season on the horizon.