INDIANAPOLIS – Darius Leonard’s impact on the football field is undeniable.
Now, he’s expanding his influence.
The veteran Indianapolis Colts’ linebacker launched the Maniac Foundation Tuesday, a venture aimed at making a difference in communities in Indy as well as his hometown of Lake View, S.C. The overriding objective is to work with in-need families through education and overall wellness.
It’s a case of someone who has worked his way to the top of his profession – two-time first-team All-Pro, two-time Pro Bowl selection, 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year – being committed to giving back.
“Definitely looking forward to it ‘cause I couldn’t be where I’m at without so many people helping me out, trying to push me to be the best I could be,’’ Leonard said on a Twitter video post. “Now it’s my turn to return the favor.’’
Leonard’s foundation – ManiacFoundation.org – will provide health and wellness resources for families.
“We want to start with helping families have food on their tables,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, his Math Maniacs program will target kids in school and encourage them to embrace math.
“We just want school kids to fall in love with math,’’ Leonard said. “I like math, so I really feel that’s a lot of things that we can do to get the kids finally back into loving doing school work. We want to work with kids with their health and just find a way to get kids more active.
“We’ve got a lot of things we want to do to help out in the community. We want to find a way to give back to the community that gave me so much. That’s the plan.’’
Leonard quickly has emerged as a leader of the Colts – on and off the field – after being selected in the second round of the 2018 draft.
He joined the Colts as an unheralded talent out of South Carolina State, but made an immediate impact. Leonard was selected Defensive Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Pro after leading the NFL and setting a franchise record with 163 tackles. He subsequently has added two more All-Pro designations – one on the first team, the other on the second team – and two Pro Bowl selections.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.