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Darius Leonard is making his first Pro Bowl appearance after getting snubbed in his All-Pro rookie season last year.
The Colts linebacker spent some time chatting with Dan Dakich on Thursday from Orlando to talk about the surprise of making his first Pro Bowl, how his body is feeling, and who he models his NFL game after.
But like I said, the dude was selected first team All-Pro (one of the 22 best players in the NFL) in his ROOKIE season in 2018 yet somehow didn’t make the Pro Bowl. So was he surprised when he got selected to go to Orlando in his second season?
“Yeah I mean I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it because the year I had last year, I was All-Pro and I still didn’t make it,” Leonard told Dan.
“My numbers wasn’t as good as this year so I definitely didn’t think I was going to make it so when I did make it I was kind of happy and definitely was looking forward to it.”
Leonard did miss time for the first time in his career in 2019, but even with his numbers not being “as good”, they were still good enough to be selected to All-Pro for a second consecutive season.
The Maniac missed three games but still finished with five interceptions, one touchdown, five sacks, and 121 tackles.
Two seasons in the NFL. Two All-Pro years. How do you get better than that?
“Everything. Honestly everything in my game,” Leonard said to Dan about what he can improve on for 2020.
“Each year you learn from all the good things you did, all the bad things you did, and try to make everything better. You never want to go into a year the same as the year before so I’d say everything about my game better.”
Got to love a modest superstar. And as Colts fans, it has to be nice to hear a humble, hard-working approach, from one of your two or three best players.
The way that Leonard plays is unlike most defensive players in all the NFL. His freakish long arms, athleticism, and speed do more than make up for his smaller stature as a linebacker. But there’s two guys who play, or recently played, in the league who he really admires.
“Bobby Wagner is a dog, man. He’s definitely a dog. I respect his game. I love the way he plays. Him and Luke Keuchly were definitely the guys I model my game after. Luke Keuchly is one of the smartest linebackers to play this game, and Bobby, I mean the way he can take over a ballgame, you know they’re two of the best linebackers to play this league so I’m just trying to be one of them.”
You’re well on your way, Darius. You’re well on your way.
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