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Leonhard's health great news for Jets

6/22/2011

Here's some news that will make New York Jets fans -- and anybody who roots for overachievers -- smile.

Jim Leonhard

Jim Leonhard

#36 S
New York Jets

2010 STATS

  • Tot61
  • Solo57
  • Ast4
  • FF0
  • Sack0.0
  • Int1

Jets safety Jim Leonhard, one of the NFL's great stories of perseverance, has recovered from the horrible leg injury that ended his season at Thanksgiving. Leonhard missed the Jets' final five regular-season games and the entire playoffs with a broken right shin bone.

He told Newark Star-Ledger reporter Jenny Vrentas he recently was cleared for full football workouts after three months of grueling rehabilitation.

"This week was a definitely a huge breakthrough," Leonhard told Vrentas. "I felt I could push as hard as I wanted to and not have setbacks. ... I'm getting excited. I want to play football and prove I'm back; prove I’ve done the work to get back."

Proving people wrong is how Leonhard made his career. He walked on at Wisconsin, wasn't drafted, latched on with the Buffalo Bills and eventually became a favorite of Rex Ryan with the Baltimore Ravens before joining the Jets.

Leonhard's health is pivotal for the Jets' secondary. As a veteran of Ryan's defenses, Leonhard made all the defensive backfield calls on the field. His return also is critical because three other Jets safeties -- Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo -- are free agents.