‘Indy, I thank you’: Indianapolis Colts release Lake View native Shaquille Leonard

Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 3:32 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2023 at 4:44 PM EST
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WMBF) - The Indianapolis Colts have parted ways with linebacker Shaquille Leonard on Tuesday. The Lake View native responded to the recent transaction with a statement on X.

Leonard said “Indy, I want to thank you for accepting me and my family with open arms. These past 6 years has been nothing but incredible! Through the good times and the bad times y’all stood by my side. I apologize for not bringing that trophy back to the 317. The energy in Lucas Oil has been nothing but amazing and I thank you for every memory. I’m thankful to play for such an amazing fan base. I love you guys and wish the Colts nothing but the best!”

The linebacker was drafted by the Colts in 2018 and immediately set records with the organization with 163 tackles, two interceptions, four forced fumbles, 12 tackles for a loss, and seven sacks. He also led the NFL in forced fumbles during the 2021 season with eight.

He was a three-time first-team AP All-Pro, three-time Pro Bowler, and 2018 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.

“I’m thankful for the energy Shaq brought to our team on a daily basis,” head coach Shane Steichen said. “He’s a competitor, a leader, and is respected among his teammates. I wish him all the best.”

After the waiver was announced, Colts General Manager Chris Ballard released a statement to thank Leonard for his contribution to the team for the last six seasons.

“Shaq is the ultimate competitor and has been a fan favorite since he arrived as a rookie in 2018,” Ballard said. “We are incredibly grateful for his contributions to the team and the city of Indianapolis over the last six seasons. We wish him the best and he will always be a valued member of the Horseshoe.”

Off the field, Leonard gave selflessly to the Indianapolis community and his hometown in Lake View. Leonard has been hosting a back-to-school giveaway in Lake View through the Darius Shaquille Leonard Maniac Foundation for the past few years.

In 2022, Leonard held a football camp at his alma mater, Lake View High School, for over 200 kids and also restored Hilltop’s Park, restored the entire basketball court, added restrooms, outdoor lights, and an outdoor playset.

With the Colts this season, Leonard collected 65 tackles and two tackles for a loss.