The Drill: Q&A with Jim Leonhard
Posted: Sept. 29, 2007
The former Wisconsin safety was the only undrafted free agent to make the Buffalo Bills roster in 2005. He played primarily on special teams until Week 1 of this season, when Ko Simpson went down with an injury, propelling Leonhard into the starting lineup. In that Week 1 game, Leonhard had a team-high 13 tackles as well as an interception. After three games, Leonhard is tied for second on the team in tackles and owns both of Buffalo's interceptions. He spoke with JSOnline sports producer Dave Heller:
Q. What does it feel like to be the starter?
A. I feel like I've been waiting around . . . and now in my third year finally getting a chance to get on the field and show these guys what I can do.
Q. Did you think it would ever happen being an undrafted guy?
A. I hoped it would happen. I had taken all the steps necessary, or at least that I felt necessary, to put myself in a position to get on the field both on special teams and defensively. You don't want it really to happen because of injury, but lots of times in this sport that's the way it happens.
Q. The injury to Kevin Everett obviously had to be tough to see, but perhaps especially so to you being that it happened on special teams. As an NFL player, do you realize that something like this could happen to you, yet you have to put it out of your mind?
A. You really do have to put it out of your mind. It has been tough just hearing things about him constantly, but we are professionals and this is what we chose to do. It's not like we're forced to play this game. This sport is the most popular sport in America for a reason, it is those big hits and big collisions. You have to make sure you go out there and prepare yourself the right way and train your body the right way, so you can avoid a lot of those bad situations.
Q. Do you still follow Wisconsin?
A. Every time I can see them I'll try to watch. I look on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and all that pretty regularly to see the beat of the team and how things are going.
Q. Are you surprised at the early success of Bret Bielema?
A. He was the defensive coordinator my senior year, and I don't think it's a surprise to any of the guys who played under him that he would be a great head coach one day. You could tell that's what he wanted to be. He had that passion that you love as players.