Free-agent safety Jim Leonhard, a Rex Ryan favorite who galvanized the New York Jets' secondary for three seasons, won't be back with the team.
After revamping the safety position in the offseason, the Jets have decided not to re-sign Leonhard, according to league sources.
Leonhard, 29, is recovering from major knee surgery, but still hopes to play this season. The injury occurred last Dec. 11 -- a torn patellar tendon -- a devastating blow for a player in the final year of his contract.
As much as they admire Leonhard, the Jets signed two free agents, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, formerly of the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, respectively. They retained veteran Eric Smith and drafted two safeties, Josh Bush and Antonio Allen, making Leonhard expendable. Even so, there was speculation that he'd back.
Leonhard could return if there's an injury at safety, but the Jets' plan is to move ahead without the popular defender, who called the signals for Ryan's secondary.
"Hopefully, in the next few weeks, I get some workouts and get a contract," Leonhard recently told a TV station in his native Wisconsin. "The knee is feeling great and I'm ready to go. I'm getting antsy. Football is around the corner and I don't have a team ... I know I'm going to be playing football somewhere this season. I just have to figure out where."
Leonhard finished the last two seasons on injured reserve, so there are questions about his durability. In December, 2010, he suffered a horrific broken leg in practice, requiring surgery. He made a comeback, started 13 games last season and finished fifth on the team in tackles.
With Leonhard out of the lineup, there was a noticeable drop off in the Jets' secondary play.
Sounds like Semen-i cant get anybody to talk to him about anything yet needs to file some crap on the local Espn site to try and get the few dozen hits they need to keep the dump afloat so he just made up sh1t again
Is the Doom and Gloom last sentence really necessary? This is exactly why Holmes has beef with Semen-I and the rest of his ilk. It's blatant trolling, hoping to get hits on the lame comments section below the article.
If it's deemed necessary to compare the defense with Leonhard in and out of the lineup, you do so in the body of the article, and preferably have some...you know, actual statistics to back it up. There's no reason to end the article with that.
Stick to reporting the facts, we don't need your amateurish analysis, dick.
Not fast, can't hit, never on the play????? Thank god we are rid of that lazy slacking 'tard. Worse, he conned the statiticians into thinking he was 5th in tackles with only 13 games played. But you can't fool the einstiens on this board Leonhard, they know the real story.
The gomers on this board are worse than mehta sometimes.
So long Jim, some of us appreciated you, don't forget those longjohns in NE and we don't blame you a bit for going. Looks like bending over for the big green weenie isn't just a Corps experience anymore.
For starter's, that's a pretty rough injury to bounce back from...not quite the hell of an Achilles tear, but I think the success rate of recovering from the patella tendon surgery is less than an ACL.
More importantly, the Jets already have three locks at the position -- Bell, Landry, and Smith. Hopefully one of Bush/Allen is good enough to warrant some PT this year, but I think at worst you'll see one guy make the final 53 and the other get sent to the practice squad. I don't know if we'll carry 5 safeties.
I thought the world of Jim Leonhard during the 2009 season, but that was 3 years ago. As of right now (here in 2012), he's on the verge of turning 30 (October), and after consecutive years of season ending injuries; he's a shell of what he once was. During the 2010 season, Leonhard fractured his tibia in which required season ending surgery (that same night). Then, last year, Leonhard suffered a torn patellar tendon in the right knee, which also required season ending surgery. For an undersized safety who never had the greatest athletic ability and/or speed/quickness to begin with (to say the least) none of this spells out a player worth re-signing. It was time for Jim Leonhard to go.
We all know about Bell and Landry as our (potential) starters, but a true sleeper could become Antonio Allen out of South Carolina. Kid is not only physically talented, but also has SEC college experience. Anxious to see him take the field come preseason, because Antonio Allen's style of play reminds me of a clone of Kerry Rhodes (Before Rhodes turned into a lazy/twittering player).
As a fan of this franchise, I'd much rather see our coaching staff take our chances with a 6'1", 210 pound rookie, who's only 23 years of age, especially when in comparison to a 29 year old Safety who's coming off consecutive season ending injuries in which required surgery, not to mention a safety who's undersized to begin with at 5'8'', 188 lbs.
I loved the overall heart that Leonhard played the game with, I enjoyed his football IQ and/or leadership ability, but at the end of the day? He's a shell of what he once was. Our coaching staff (I believe) made the right decision. It was time to move on.
We should. But did we? Landry...Bell...keeping Smith....two mid/late round draft picks?
Not sure I see a Safety better than Leonhard in that list. Of course Jim's health/durability is a concern, but not much more of a concern than Landry's.
I think Rube-y was referring to getting taller safeties?
seriously though, Leonhard was mostly awful last season, a completely different player than what he was prior to his leg injury in 2010. I can't imagine that he got any better after blowing out his knee.