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Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard opened training camp Tuesday with some news.
He no longer wants to be known as Darius Leonard.
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The three-time All-Pro linebacker, who turned 27 on Wednesday, said he’s been called Shaquille his whole life and now is the time to step back. His full name is Darius Shaquille Leonard.
“I’ve been by Shaquille all my life. My mom called me Shaquille. My friends and family called me Shaquille,” Leonard said, via FOX59. “I never went by Darius. Only at school or when I was causing trouble.”
He said he kept some things to himself on the advice of Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss.
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“He said, ‘The best advice I can give you is to keep your mouth shut and your ears and eyes open. So I just arrived and wanted to work. I just went with it,” he said.
“I love being called Shaquille. I hate being called Darius. I understand it’s going to be difficult, but I would love for you all to try calling me Shaquille or D or Maniac and not Darius .”
Leonard is physically unable to perform (PUP) to start training camp after undergoing back surgery in June.
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He is about to enter his fifth season with the Colts. He was a Pro Bowler each of the first four seasons of his career.