Former Colts All-Pro Talks 2024, What's Next for Career

Former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaq Leonard discusses the 2024 season and his future in the NFL.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard (53) during game action at EverBank Stadium on Sunday, Oct 15, 2023, in Jacksonville.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard (53) during game action at EverBank Stadium on Sunday, Oct 15, 2023, in Jacksonville. / Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY
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The Indianapolis Colts have had plenty of incredible names grace their defensive ranks throughout the franchise's history. Players like defensive ends Robert Mathis (Colts Ring of Honor) and Dwight Freeney (NFL Hall of Fame), safety Bob Sanders, and cornerback Vontae Davis are just a tiny sample of the greatness Indy has had defensively through the years. But there has perhaps never been the hustling, turnover-machine that was Shaquille Leonard at linebacker.

In Leonard's first four seasons (2018-2021), he put together some of the best numbers and accolades of any defensive player in the NFL. Below is a presentation of how good "The Maniac" was through those first four campaigns:

  • 58 games (all starts)
  • 538 tackles (343 solo; 30 for loss)
  • 15.0 sacks
  • 17 fumbles forced (seven recovered)
  • 30 passes defended
  • 11 interceptions (142 return yards; one defensive touchdown)
  • Three-time First-Team All-Pro
  • Second-Team All-Pro (2019)
  • Three-time Pro Bowler
  • 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year

Needless to say, Leonard was on his way to a potential NFL Hall of Fame career with nobody arguing against the logic. But, after a lower-back nerve injury (along with a concussion and broken nose) that derailed his 2022 campaign to three games, the writing began to show on the wall that Leonard may be past his prime due to the severity of the mounting injuries.

After being released by Indy in 2023, the Colts would replace Leonard with rising linebacker E.J. Speed. Zaire Franklin and Speed have since formed one of the AFC's most undervalued linebacking duos and are leaders for Gus Bradley's defensive attack. For Leonard, he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles to conclude the campaign. Now, he's a free agent looking for his next destination.

In a recent article from, Jeremy Bergman breaks down statements from Leonard himself made at his Maniac Foundation event in Indianapolis. IndyStar's Kyle Smedley interviewed the former Colts star and obtained the quotes.

"I'm more so just sitting back, getting the body healthy, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, we'll give it a try."

Shaq Leonard | via Kyle Smedley

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Leonard discussed his NFL career and experiences further:

"If it happens, it happens. If it don't, it don't. I think throughout my career I've had a great career, even if I do step away from it. ... I'm enjoying life and just waiting on that opportunity."

Shaq Leonard | via Kyle Smedley

Leonard's career path is unfortunate, but it's also a testament to what NFL players have to put their bodies and health through to show out their best performances. Leonard was arguably the top linebacker in the NFL at the height of his dominance.

Even in his post-Indianapolis career with potential retirement on the horizon, Leonard continues to be a massive figure in the Indianapolis scene. His selfless acts, big heart, and pure love for Indy fit the attitude of the Circle City. Leonard won't ever forget what the Colts did for him either.

"Indianapolis gave me so much. For six and a half years, it's been my home. I just want to give back as much as I possibly can to a town that means so much to me."

Shaq Leonard | via Kyle Smedley

There is a great probability that Leonard will one day find his name in the heralded Colts Ring of Honor to join the greatest Indy has seen in pro football. Here's to the best days ahead for The Maniac.

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Drake Wally


Drake Wally covers the Indianapolis Colts at Horseshoe Huddle and co-hosts the Horseshoe Huddle Podcast.