In his second season, Darius Leonard 'not worrying much about outside noise'

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WESTFIELD, Ind. (WTHR) - Everybody knows about 12, he’s very popular of course, but now everyone wants a 53 jersey.

You can’t miss him on the field.

Darius Leonard is always flying around, talking smack and making big plays. His personality is as big as his football talent.

“I’m never growing up, I play games for a living,” Leonard said.

He’s a natural at the game, Darius became the third player in history with at least 150 tackles, 5 sacks and 2 picks in a season.

The second-year player keeps it all in perspective.

“I keep a laser-eye focus. I don’t really worry too much about outside noise. I’m coming in with the same mentality as I did last year, to compete for a starting job and be the best player I can be,” said Leonard.

Darius became a dad in the off-season. Mia Gabrielle changed his life and it was tough for him to leave daughter and mom to go to training camp.

“It sucks. It sucks especially with a newborn, especially with your first one. You want to be around her 24/7,” said Leonard, “Having to come up here and not be able to see her for a couple days definitely sucks but it motivates you so that I can spend all the time with her that I want, she can have anything that she wants, so you can look at it in good ways and bad ways.”

Darius grew up in South Carolina, where he learned all about overcoming adversity. He’s wise beyond his age of 24.

“My mom was an outstanding young lady. She worked 2 to 3 jobs to make ends meet and raising 9 kids in one house, that was hard. I didn’t have a father figure in my life until I was 13 or 14 and I know what it feels like to not have a father and I want to make sure I am there for my family,” he said.

Darius knows that his football career could come to an end in an instant. He watched it happen to his brother, who played football at Clemson, so each day in a Colts uniform is a blessing.

“Every time I look at football, I look at life. I know how quick life can change so I don’t take anything for granted, I just go every single day and play or do whatever I’m doing and have fun with it,” said Leonard.

Keep an eye on number 53 all season long. He has set some lofty goals to get it done this year as the Colts make a charge for the Super Bowl.

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