The linebacker admitted during the lead-up to Super Bowl LV he was stunned by Rivers' retirement announcement, but explained he understood the quarterback's decision, commending Rivers for playing 17 years at a high level.
"It was definitely a complete shock," Leonard said, via SiriusXM NFL Radio. "You know, just talking to him a couple of days before he announced, he still didn't know what he was gonna do. Me personally, I do believe that he has some left in the tank. He played very well this year for us and I thought he was going to come back the next year and do the same exact thing and play even better."
Now that Rivers is gone, Leonard's not shooting for the moon with his wishes for the Colts' next quarterback -- he just wants someone who will buy what Indianapolis is selling.
"I honestly don't care who's the quarterback, as long as the quarterback comes in with the right mentality and they're gonna help us win ballgames," Leonard said. "I don't care if he's young, I don't care if he's old, I don't care if he's well-known or not. If you're going to come in and put the team first and help us win ballgames, come on down to the Indianapolis Colts."
Rumblings of a potential deal to acquire Carson Wentz have featured the Colts at the center of rumored teams interested, and with quarterbacks changing teams at a higher rate than usual and the Colts in need of one, they'll continue to be in the thick of potential pairings with new faces. That could mean an offseason with Leonard's team frequently in the headlines, especially after the Colts were competitive enough with Rivers to reach the wild-card round and lose a close one to Buffalo.
"I'm gonna just trust the guys up front in the front office and then let the chips fall where they fall and control what I can control on defense, and that is just playing hard and just doing what we can do," Leonard said.
At the mid point of February, we might not learn who the Colts will turn to at the position for some time. But we know it won't be Rivers (or Andrew Luck).