Darius Leonard taking on bigger leadership role for Colts

Darius Leonard has been the star linebacker on the field for the Colts since he arrived in the second round of the 2018 draft, but a different linebacker was in a leading role off the field.

Leonard said that Anthony Walker “was that guy that everybody leaned on” when it came to preparing for each week’s game because of the amount of film study he did and the questions he asked during meetings. Walker moved on to Cleveland as a free agent this offseason, however, and Leonard said he’s prepared to step up to fill those shoes.

“Now that Anthony Walker is gone, you need that person to take in that leadership role and say, ‘Okay, this is what you have to do,’” Leonard said, via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “‘This is the way that it has to be.’ . . . I’m going to have to quit being this friendly guy, quit being this guy that smiles all the time and goes about doing it his way. Now, it’s about this is the right way, this is how we do it, and hold people accountable that way.”

Leonard’s play has him in line for an extension that will make him the natural choice as the leader of the linebackers and the entire defense in Indianapolis.