Only matter of time before Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard is 'Maniac'

Second-round selection looks to evolve into a defensive leader on a unit with so many young players.

INDIANAPOLIS In time, Indianapolis Colts rookie Darius Leonard assures the Maniac will show up in the NFL.

For now, the second-round selection just wants to lead by example. The 23-year-old newcomer had a team-high nine tackles and a fumble recovery in Sundays debut against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Ask him about being humble and he admits, Yes, sir, always.

But hes always been considered a leader, in high school at Lake View, S.C., and then college at South Carolina State.

Id say at first, Ill be a leader by example until I get very comfortable, Leonard said Wednesday. Then thats when the Maniac comes out. Hes rah-rah, love to have fun, go that way.

Leonard said the NFL stage didnt overwhelm him.

It was everything I thought it would be, he said. Playing against guys Ive seen on TV for a couple of years. It was just a great feeling to be out there.

First-year Colts head coach Frank Reich has said one of the first lessons rookies need to learn is that they belong, and to play with confidence.

That his first game is now in the books, Leonard expects to settle in more.

I came out and slowed the game down in my head, he said. I can play a lot faster. I never get caught in the big stage. Ive always been that small-town guy and I keep that small-town brain. I never try to make the situation bigger than it is.

A young Colts defense needs playmakers and leaders. The hope is that Leonard will evolve into just that.

Yeah, I feel settled in, getting that first one out of the way, he said. Im just trying to stack days on top of each other and get better.

He particularly likes the idea of playing on a defense with so many other young players.

Playing with a lot of rookies, its pretty cool, Leonard said.

Comments (2)
No. 1-2

They playing russian roulette with this rookie..#BenchWentz 1 more week..there's a maniac on the loose!


Less than 24 hours for someone in their right mind to rethink starting Wentz with The Maniac on the prowl....Week 4 is only 7 days away and a much safer bet!