Free agent safety Jim Leonhard might be staying in the AFC East, as the former New York Jets fan favorite visited the Buffalo Bills today. Jim Leonhard suffered his second major injury in two seasons against the Kansas City Chiefs last year, essentially ending his Jets career. Jim Leonhard was an unsung hero on the team, the quarterback of the defense and a tough, yet undersized leader in the secondary.
The New York Jets made a clear break from Jim Leonhard when they signed LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, while also selecting Josh Bush and Antonio Allen in the 2012 NFL Draft. Jim Leonhard was a popular player in the locker room and amongst the fans that populate MetLife Stadium during Jets home games, bring about some disappointment when it was clear he would not return.
For Jim Leonhard the show must go on, and his NFL career may continue with a return stint with the Buffalo Bills. Jim Leonhard signed with the Bills as an undrafted rookie in 2005, appearing in 10 games in his first NFL season. In 2008, Leonhard jumped ship and joined the Baltimore Ravens, where he met Rex Ryan. When Rex Ryan became the Jets head coach in 2009, Jim Leonhard followed him to New York.
Jim Leonhard quickly became a fan favorite in New York, the kind of hard-working player that earns the respect of teammates, coaches and fans alike. He made some big plays and was a part of the two Jets teams that made it to the AFC Championship Game under Rex Ryan, but in the end his durability issues became too much of a concern for a team that needed to upgrade their talent at safety.
Still, the Jets don't want to see Jim Leonhard stay in the AFC East and link up with the Buffalo Bills. He's a smart player who could certainly help the Bills gain some insight into what the Jets do defensively, giving them somewhat of an edge in their head-to-head matchups.
Hopefully Jim Leonhard will land with a new NFL team soon, whether it be the Bills or another team needing depth at safety.
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