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Jim Leonard wants to Play for the Green Bay Packers

Jim Leonard

You probably remember safety Jim Leonard as Wisconsin Badgers great Jim Leonard.

The guy was a walk-on for the Badgers from tiny Ladysmith, Wisconsin. He went on to become a starting safety, tie the Badgers record for interceptions in a career, set the Big 10 record for most punt return yards (since broken) and earn first-team All Big 10 honors three times.

That’s a big-ass can of can-do!

Leonard has been a journeyman in the NFL since he entered the league in 2005, logging stints with five teams. He’s had some decent seasons, though nothing mind-blowingly outstanding. Filling in for an injured Jairus Byrd in 2013, Leonard recorded a career-high four interceptions while starting seven games for Buffalo.

Not bad.

He’ll be a free agent next month and, of course, he’d love to come home and play for the Green Bay Packers.

“I’d obviously love to come back to Green Bay and play for the hometown fans. That would make a lot of people happy, a lot of my family happy,” Leonard told ESPN Wisconsin’s Zach Heilprin. “They wouldn’t be quite as conflicted having to cheer for some teams that they maybe rather wouldn’t but you never know. Obviously there’s got to be mutual interest on both ends.”

Yes, mutual interest.

At 31, Leonard wouldn’t be a guy you’d bring in to start (although we can pretty much guarantee you he’s better than M.D. Jennings). He’d be a veteran insurance policy, much like he was for Buffalo last season.

Could the Packers use someone like that? It certainly couldn’t hurt. There’s zero leadership on the defense outside of Johnny Jolly and he’s a free agent. On top of that, Leonard isn’t going to get anything more than the veteran’s minimum and you know Ted Thompson loves lowballing the hell out of free agents.

So why not sign Leonard on the cheap and let him come into training camp and try to win a roster spot?

We’ve heard of worse ideas.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. TyKo Steamboat February 11, 2014

    I think it’s spelled “Leonhard” not “Leonard”

    & leave it to a white safety with bad knees to be the only free agent since Reggie White to actually want to play In Green Bay

  2. Chad Lundberg February 11, 2014


  3. Abe Frohman February 11, 2014

    Leonhard is exactly the kind of guy we should be bringing in – inexpensive, smart, tough veteran that can bridge the gap between getting a rookie up to speed at the beginning of the season and insurance policy in the event of an injury.

  4. K.L. February 11, 2014

    Yes. Leadership, leadership, leadership. We need it. And by the looks of it, this guy would be a major bargain since he would rather play here than anywhere else. This could really work. But I’d be more than okay with Jairus Byrd or Donte Whitner, too.

  5. Charlie Martin February 11, 2014


  6. GBslacker February 11, 2014

    (Let me provide an alternative prospective…)

    I don’t see how an old, less-than-stellar veteran can provide leadership… when he’ll likely not win a starting spot: “Hey! do it my way… and be no. 3,4,5 on the depth chart!!”

    C’mon, you know this guy is going to be a step slow, if not more so… he’s 31 !!!

    About the only thing he could provide is one more person teaching the plays to the guys that are too lazy or stupid to apply themselves. That’s not “leadership” as much as it is “spoon-feeding.”

    After several one-year contracts with different teams, this guy doesn’t have much to offer. I’d much rather see those snaps go to a young player, that has some upside — perhaps a 4th round pick, from a smaller school…

    It’s that quadruple-witching time of year when we…
    —move up in the draft
    —trade players
    —sign free agents
    —tender offers to all former players

    Let the madness begin !!!

    1. K.L. February 11, 2014

      I bet he’d have the starting position. You must be forgetting that our current safeties tend to suck.

  7. vj February 12, 2014

    How tall are Seattle’s DBs again? Ah, yes. Loved watching Jim play in college but that seems like ages ago and he does not improve speed or athleticism (definitely smarts however), so it’s a soft ‘no’.

  8. Phatgzus February 12, 2014

    Yeah, let’s piss our money away on an ordinary journeyman safety.

  9. Savage57 February 12, 2014

    Ever since this guy played for Bucky, he was like a John Kuhn on defense – did the scutwork that made a difference in games. Every time I caught a Jets or Bills game, the guy showed up and made plays – picks, forced or recovered fumbles. And, he knows how to tackle.

    He wants to play for the Pack, is willing to take reasonable money and most of all, isn’t afraid to play safety like a safety, not like a WR that hates contact.

    Seven games in 2013, 4 picks. Since that’s a 400% increase over the entire Packers safety corps, where’s the harm in taking a look? It’s not like you’re going to take snaps away from some straight-up, ballin’ playmakers.

    1. Dave February 12, 2014

      This, well said sir