End of an Era: Three-Time All-Pro Linebacker Shaquille Leonard Parts Ways with the Indianapolis Colts After Six Seasons

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Shaquille Leonard
Shaquille Leonard (Credits: San Francisco Chronicle)

Three-time first-team All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard has concluded his tenure with the Indianapolis Colts. The 28-year-old former second-round pick was waived by the team on Tuesday, as officially announced.

Expressing his gratitude in a social media post, Leonard bid farewell to Indianapolis, acknowledging the support he and his family received during his six-year stint. Despite not bringing a trophy to the city, he thanked the fans for their unwavering support, emphasizing the incredible memories and energy at Lucas Oil Stadium. Leonard conveyed his love for the Colts’ fan base and wished the team the best in the future.

Shaquille Leonard
Shaquille Leonard (Credits: NFL)

Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed Leonard’s release in a statement, praising the linebacker’s on-field prowess and off-field contributions as a servant leader in both his hometown and the Indianapolis community. Irsay expressed gratitude for Leonard’s contributions to the organization and extended well wishes to him and his family.

Hailing from South Carolina State, Leonard made a significant impact as a rookie, leading the league in tackles and earning AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Over his first four seasons, he continued to excel as a tackling machine and coverage specialist, earning a lucrative five-year, $98.25 million extension in 2021.

However, Leonard’s trajectory faced a setback with a back injury that required surgery in the 2022 offseason. The 2022 season saw him miss games due to a concussion and a broken nose, and he later re-injured his back, limiting his playing time to just three games. In 2023, Leonard struggled to regain his All-Pro form, leading to reduced playing time under the new coaching staff. Expressing frustration with his usage, Leonard acknowledged the criticism of not making enough “splash plays.”

Now, as a free agent with a base salary of approximately $6.1 million for the remainder of the current season and $6.5 million guaranteed for injury in 2024, Leonard’s future in the NFL remains uncertain. With the Colts signing linebacker Ronnie Harrison from their practice squad later on Tuesday, the team continues to make adjustments to its roster.


By Richard

All in one crazy for sports, especially baseball.

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