Darius Leonard Changing His Body Going Into Second NFL Season
Zach Bolinger | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – Listed at 6-2 and 234 pounds, Darius Leonard has some news for you:
That weight isn’t true.
Yes, Leonard did weigh 234 pounds when he reported to the Colts last spring, after being taken with the 36th pick in 2018.
But that weight did not maintain.
In fact, Leonard admits that he weighed a mere 215 pounds when the Colts played their Divisional Round matchup against the Chiefs. For much of his rookie season, Leonard’s weight hovered around the 218-pound range.
One of Leonard’s biggest goals going into 2019 is finding a happy medium between the weight he came in at as a rookie (234), versus what he played at against Kansas City (215).
“I want to come in smaller than what I did,” Leonard said of a 2019 goal. “I felt like I was too big. I want to come in at 225 and try to stay healthy because I got banged up early and I want to take better care of my body earlier in the year.”
Certainly, a slimmer frame compared to just about every other starting linebacker in the league didn’t hinder Leonard too much as a rookie.
His rangy body, freakish arms and impressive instincts obviously helped Leonard reach the rarefied All-Pro air in Year One.
Andrew Luck took notice of those skills on the first day of Training Camp practice at Grand Park, which also happened to be Leonard’s first ever NFL practice, after the rookie had missed the entire spring session due to a hamstring injury.
“I’ll be honest, I remember the first couple times in Training Camp coming back like, ‘Oh my gosh, this guy is too fast to play linebacker. He’s not supposed to make that play.’” Luck says of the Defensive Rookie of the Year. “I remember he intercepted a ball early on in practice and – wow, he jumped, contorted in the air twisted, caught it and came down with it. That’s athletic.
“I’m certainly glad he is on the Colts and not on the other side.”
Those athletic traits kind of speak for themselves.
But the Colts want everyone to know that the entire Leonard story isn’t just seen in his physical makeup.
“He is like a sponge in terms of taking everything in, of what to do, how to do it and then improving that,” Matt Eberflus says of his defensive signal caller.
And that rare player/makeup will look just slightly different in his second NFL season.
Nike’s gift to Darius Leonard (from his instagram) for winning Defensive Rookie of the Year: pic.twitter.com/EoWVcaxtCg
— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) April 3, 2019