Buffalo Bills veteran safety Jim Leonhard was once one of the better starting safeties in the game back when he played for the rival New York Jets, and he has gotten his career back on track as a backup with the Bills after some crippling injuries threatened to throw back his career. Leonhard is an excellent leader on defense, and he is decent in run support and coverage. While he is ideally a solid third safety, Leonhard can start in a pinch without being an embarrassment to the team’s tackling or coverage.
At 31 and set to hit free agency with a history of injuries, Leonhard could be at the cross-roads, but we’re all hoping to see Leonhard out there on an NFL field next season, hopefully with the Buffalo Bills. According to Bills official site beat writer Chris Brown, Leonhard stated that he wants to retire after the 2014 season but has plenty of desire to give it his all for one final year.
He said, “I want to play one more and that’s it. I know that. I’ve known that for a couple of years. I want to get 10 (years). Whether that’s here or somewhere else is yet to be determined, but I’m definitely open to the possibility of coming back.”
It would be surprised if the Bills didn’t re-sign the dependable, veteran backup, and it would be fitting for him to retire on the same time as defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who knows Leonhard well and definitely trusts him (they worked together while with the Jets). Leonhard recorded 41 tackles and four interceptions this season, so there’s still solid play left in the tank.