Colts’ LB Darius Leonard: “I Want to be NFL Defensive Player of the Year”

Darius Leonard. Photo by John Mersits/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard exceeded all expectations in his rookie year, leading the league with 163 tackles and earning First-team All-Pro honors in 2018. But the 23-year-old doesn’t intend to stop there. Leonard already set high goals for 2019, aiming to be NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

“I want 200 tackles. I want 10 sacks. I want to be NFL Defensive Player of the Year,” – said Leonard during his appearance on NFL Network on Tuesday. “I want to be All-Pro, Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP. Just everything with my name at the top of the charts.”

Leonard, who was the 36th overall choice in 2018, had many doubters when he entered the league. This motivated him to have an outstanding rookie year in which he also added 7.0 sacks, four fumbles, and two interceptions.

But even when he proved everyone wrong, the initial doubt about his place in the NFL continues to fuel his determination.

“I still have that chip on my shoulder.” – he explained. “I wasn’t MVP. I wasn’t at the top of the charts. I wasn’t a Pro Bowler. I wasn’t a Super Bowl champion. So, that’s still goals that I want to achieve. And until I achieve them goals, I’m gonna still have that chip on my shoulder to outplay everybody and be the top competitor that I can be.”