Colts' Darius Leonard on not getting COVID-19 vaccine: 'I want to get more educated about it'

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Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard spoke to reporters on Thursday about being unvaccinated. The three-time All-Pro said not getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a “personal decision” and he believes in getting “comfortable with something” before putting it into your body.


“I’m just a down South guy. I want to see more. I want to learn more,” Leonard said via The Athletic. “I want to get more educated about it. Just got to think about it. Don’t want to rush into it. I’ve got to see everything. I’m listening to all the vaccinated guys here. I’m not – you see on social media – I’m not pro-vaxx. I’m not anti-vaxx. I’ve got to learn. 

“When you don’t know about something, you’ve got to educate yourself more about it and figure out what it is, and you’ve got to make a decision from there. You’ve got to make sure you understand your decision and understand what’s going in your body and the long-term effects and stuff like that.

“I think once I get a grasp of it – just like the playbook – you’ve got to get comfortable with something. You can say, ‘OK, I’m going to put this in my body.’”

In early August, Leonard and the Colts agreed to a five-year deal worth $99.25 million, including $52.5 million guaranteed, which made him the highest-paid inside linebacker in the league.

Taken with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Leonard had a league-high 163 tackles and was named honored as the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2018 and 2020, and a second-team All-Pro in 2019.

Since entering the NFL, Leonard leads all inside linebackers with an average of 9.9 tackles per game, 15 sacks, and nine forced fumbles. He also has seven interceptions, which ranks second in the league at his position.

Last season, Leonard piled up 132 tackles and three sacks.

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