An NFL rookie player caused a meltdown on social media after sharing an emotional video of the moment he surprised his mother with a brand new car.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard is going viral thanks to a video shared to his Twitter and Instagram accounts. On the clip, the 23-year-old, in the company of other family members and friends, surprises his mother with a white Mercedes Benz, and her reaction is everything.
The camera managed to catch the moment when the unsuspecting mom, Lynette Waters, hears the honk of the car and she realizes what is happening. Unable to control her excitement, Waters drops her purse and starts running across the parking lot to her new ride.
Before hopping on the shiny vehicle, which had a red bow on it, Lynette and Darius shared a warm hug, as people cheer in the background.
“Ain’t not like putting a smile on your mother face! We’ve been through so much, and now it’s like we’re on top of the world!” Leonard captioned the emotional clip, which has earned over 58k views on Instagram and 1.1 million on Twitter.
Leonard had an impressive first season with the Colts after being drafted in the second round by the team last year. Fans of the Indianapolis team didn’t get why the Colts were interested in a player from South Carolina State, a Football Championship Subdivision school, and he has made sure to prove his worth.
Known as The Maniac, Leonard was chosen as NFL's defensive rookie of the year and named to the All-Pro team this season. According to ESPN, Leonard led the NFL in tackles with 163, 19 more than the next closest player, despite missing a game this season. He also had seven sacks and forced four fumbles.
A native from Lake View, South Carolina, Leonard grew up as one of nine siblings. Two of his eldest brothers are in jail with murder charges, and one of his youngest siblings died after a brawl into a night club went wrong. Still, Darius always had dreams of greatness and success.
His mother, Lynette, raised all of the kids all by herself, working two jobs to make ends meet and exhausting herself to the point of celebrating one of her birthdays in the hospital due to high blood pressure. “We didn’t have what everyone else had,” Darius told the Indy Star.
What he did have, was determination and drive to accomplish his goals. Leonard would be the first to arrive at football practice before dawn and the last to leave. He worked out hard to bulk up to 180 pounds and earn a spot on his high school’s football team lineup.
“He loved practice as much as the games,” said his high school coach, Daryl King. “He came in every day and decided he was going to outwork everybody on the field.”
By the time he was a senior, Leonard could dominate five positions: running back, wide receiver, linebacker, safety and punter.
Even after failing to enter his dream college, Clemson University, and accepting the scholarship from South Carolina State, Leonard gave his all in the field. He became one of the best players in the school’s history, leaving with a program-record of 394 tackles.
“I didn’t get the respect, and I still don’t think I get the respect because of the school I went to,” he says. “Nobody knew who I was.”
An article from Bleacher Report labeled the Colt’s draft of Leonard as “one of their worst moves.” Now, Leonard has become the backbone of the team’s defense, and he’s still on the lead of the league. Of the article, he said,
“I love it. The plan was to make whoever wrote that look pretty stupid.”