Daily Sports Smile: Darius Leonard named Week 12 NFLPA Community MVP after heartwarming Thanksgiving efforts

Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Darius Leonard (53) signals to the referee after a play that resulted in a holding call against the Bills during the first quarter of the game Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Jaylon Thompson
USA TODAY Sports+

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard brought Thanksgiving cheer to families in the Indianapolis and South Carolina areas. Leonard held two Thanksgiving giveaways and provided warm meals for those in need.

Leonard distributed meals for 70 families experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis. He later helped 100 families in his hometown of Lake View, South Carolina.

The NFL Players Association named Leonard the Week 12 Community MVP for his efforts. The NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to the charity of his choice.

“I love what I do on the field, but I think what I am doing off the field is what makes me the man I am today,” Leonard said after receiving the award. “I try to attack giving back the same way I do with playing football, which is trying to be the best I possibly can be at it.”

The two-time All-Pro teamed with Coburn Place and the Forum Credit Union to help the Indianapolis families. Leonard spent time with the families and learned about their stories. He also took photos and created lifelong memories.

Earlier this week, Leonard’s Maniac Foundation hosted his hometown giveaway in South Carolina. The foundation distributed meals and Colts gear to families in need during the special drive-thru event.

Leonard was honored by the NFLPA award. He plans to continue helping the local community thrive in the months ahead. His foundation aims to transform communities through education, wellness and serving families in need.

This season, Leonard has 78 tackles, two interceptions, five passes defended and four forced fumbles in 11 games.