The Indianapolis Colts shocked the NFL on Tuesday be waiving three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard after six seasons with the team. The move makes the six-year linebacker a free agent after clearing waivers following the release.
Why did the Colts outright release Leonard, a player who has been a leader on the defense? While there is only speculation out there, a shocked Leonard shared his side of the story on Wednesday.
“I asked for a November meeting,” Leonard said, via ESPN.com. “I guess I got a November meeting. I guess you’ve got to be careful what you ask for.”
NFL rumors: A decline in playing time lead to Shaq Leonard expressing frustration
Coming off back injuries that led Leonard to miss most of the 2022 NFL season, he wasn’t the explosive player he was in previous seasons. That led to decreased snaps which of course led to frustration for the talented linebacker. When Leonard asked for a meeting with Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the message relayed was that he would be inactive the rest of the season.
To Leonard’s surprise, the free agent market became the next step which he himself is still trying to figure out the reason as to why.
“I always say that they say [complaints] are OK until you stop on toes,” Leonard said. “I said that two weeks ago and I still stand by it. I don’t know if that played a part. Do I think it plays somewhat of a part in it? Yes, because they could see it as a distraction. But I tried to be respectful with my answer.”
While the Colts dealt with distraction early in the season with the Jonathan Taylor contract issue, it seems the team was quick to move on from Leonard, who still believes in himself and in his drive. The question now is what teams out there believe in him and which playoff teams could he help the rest of the NFL season?
Here’s a look at three Super Bowl contenders who could benefit from the Shaq Leonard release.