Shaquille Leonard Eager for NFL Signing Opportunity

Injuries challenge Leonard's future in professional football

by Zain ul Abedin
Shaquille Leonard Eager for NFL Signing Opportunity
© Michael Hickey/Getty Images

With the NFL season right around the corner, free-agent linebacker Shaquille Leonard looks optimistic about his future with the league. The 28-year-old, formerly one of the defensive stars, has yet to be signed but never feels down - both in spirit and through preparation.

Speaking recently to the Indianapolis Star, Leonard let them know his mind and where he is concerning getting ready to hit the gridiron again. "I’m more so just sitting back, getting the body healthy, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, we’ll give it a try," Leonard said.

He seems almost cavalier about it, which is preparation mixed with acceptance. "I just continue to be me by working hard. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't." Being able to play through the injuries of the recent past, Leonard has had quite a storied career.

He was picked by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft and started his campaign where he bagged NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and thrice spotlighted as First Team All-Pro as a Colt.

Leonard's Recent Struggles

The recent past seasons, however, have been tough on Leonard as he was limited to three games in 2022 with several injuries.

He was subsequently waived by the Colts the following season before he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, with whom he finished that season. He thus could not be denied his contribution as a linebacker, though that is upon fitness.

Leonard has been extremely quiet this off-season, with very minimal interest shown by NFL teams. He, however, still holds on to hope for a turn of fortunes and says he is ready for whatever opportunity comes around. "I'm enjoying life and just waiting on that opportunity," he said, showing so much peace and fulfilment in his personal and professional life.

Leonard's case serves to remind many that, in sports careers, one can hardly tell what lies ahead. And for those most gifted, permanent backup is lurking out there in the field, awaiting extraneous factors. His resilience - the inner capacity to remain positive amidst professional uncertainties - will be more emphasized in his character and determination.