Colts LB Shaquille Leonard finally revealed entering his fifth NFL season that he prefers to be called by his middle name Shaquille, which he has always gone by, and hates being called Darius.
“I went by Shaquille my whole life,” Leonard said, via Stephen Holder of ESPN. “My mom called me Shaquille, my family called me Shaquille, my friends and family called me Shaquille. I only went by Darius in school or if I was in trouble. Once I got to the NFL, that’s when people started calling me Darius. I hate it, but coming in as a rookie, I figured they didn’t want a rookie coming in saying to call him a different name. So, I just went with it.”
Leonard revealed a pretty good reason for not saying anything when people began calling him Darius instead of Shaquille. He also prefers to be called D or Maniac over Darius.
“Coming into my rookie year, talking to [Hall of Fame wide receiver] Randy Moss, he said the best advice he could give me was to keep your mouth closed and your ears and eyes open,” Leonard said. “So, I came in and worked. I didn’t want to come in and be treated special. If they called me Darius Leonard, I mean, that is my name. That’s just what I went [by]. I didn’t want to cause any problems. But I love being called Shaquille and hate being called Darius. I understand it’s going to be hard, but I would love if y’all would try to call me Shaquille or ‘D’ or ‘Maniac’ and not Darius.”
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