- Shaquille Leonard was surprisingly cut by the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday
- But he said giving out turkeys later in the day brought ‘joy’ to him
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Despite being released on Tuesday, Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard hung around to pass out turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving.
Leonard, a three-time All-Pro, was surprisingly cut by the Colts with his playing time dwindling in his sixth season.
But the 28-year-old put the unfortunate news behind him just hours later as he helped local families prepare their holiday meals.
According to TMZ, Leonard impacted roughly 200 families with his good deeds.
While he could be seen smiling during the event, he revealed that his release was a total shock to him.
Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard – the 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year – was cut this week
‘It was the biggest surprise ever,’ Leonard said, according to Fox 59.
He added of his changing role on the team, ‘I honestly thought if I wasn’t going to [start], I was going to be a backup. I did not think I was going to get the boot and get fired on my day off.’
Nonetheless, Leonard helped make Thanksgiving better for many families and took pictures with fans at the event – something that seemed to cheer him up.
‘When I found out today [about his release], I was heartbroken … now just seeing the smiles on [fans’] faces, they’re bringing joy to me.’
He said in a statement after his release, ‘Indy, I want to thank you for accepting me and my family with open arms. ‘These past six years has been nothing but incredible! Through the good times and the bad y’all stood by my side. I apologize for not bringing that (Lombardi) trophy back to the 317.’
Leonard was selected by the franchise in the second round of the 2018 draft.
GM Chris Ballard added, ‘ ‘Shaq is the ultimate competitor and has been a fan favorite since he arrived as a rookie in 2018. We are incredibly grateful for his contributions to the team and the city of Indianapolis over the last six seasons. We wish him the best and he will always be a valued member of the Horseshoe.’