Mini Article Update

Just got back to Wisco... haven't gotten a chance yet to make the big update... thought this one was funny though...

Outsports NFL 2008 All-Hot team
Our annual pick of the hottest players in the NFL, and this year even a fan.
Defensive back
Sabby Piscitelli (Tampa Bay), Matt Giordano (Indianapolis), Jim Leonhard (Baltimore), Asante Samuel (Philadelphia).

Defensive back is easily the hottest position in the league. Piscitelli is a total stud; someone who knew him at Oregon State told us: “He walked around the weight room with no shirt on and looked at himself constantly in the mirrors. And he loved to wear skin tight Under Armour. He has massive biceps and shoulders.”

Pictures don't do Giordano justice and he is our overall MVP. A killer face, muscled body and great sense of style (we saw him live at the Colts playoff game). He is a repeat member of our team. A newcomer is Leonhard, who CBS loved to show without his helmet on the sidelines; his model looks must have been the reason.

Leonhard Strikes Again

Notes: Leonhard Makes More Plays
Jim Leonhard has stepped up for the Ravens in each playoff game.
by Mike Duffy
Jan 19, 2009, 6:20AM

He may be one of the more lesser-known players on the football field, but fans certainly heard Ravens safety Jim Leonhard’s name called often in Sunday’s 23-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Leonhard, who totaled four tackles in the AFC Championship tilt, made two giant plays for Baltimore, something he’s done throughout the Ravens’ run through the playoffs.

The 5-foot-8, 186-pounder regularly seems to be in the right place at the right time. This week, we scooped up a fumble that linebacker Ray Lewis forced of running back Willie Parker in the first quarter.

Parker was running off the left end when Lewis popped the ball out from behind, and it fell directly into Leonhard’s waiting hands.

The Ravens could not convert the turnover into points, however, giving possession back when quarterback Joe Flacco’s sneak up the middle was stopped on fourth-and-1.

Leonhard’s second explosive contribution did yield points.

Taking a second quarter punt from Pittsburgh’s Mitch Berger, Leonhard went from his own 38-yard line to the Steelers’ 17 for a 42-yard return.

Four snaps later, running back Willie McGahee plunged 3 yards for the Ravens’ first touchdown.

Leonhard’s outing at Heinz Field was a continuation of his performance over the entire postseason.

In the Wild Card round, Leonhard intercepted typically careful Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington and returned it 20 yards.

In the Divisional Round, Leonhard recovered one fumble and later forced another, and both occurred deep in Baltimore territory.

Still, the sting of the loss and a squandered chance to play in Super Bowl XLIII had Leonhard’s mind on other things after the game.

“Those personal accomplishments don’t matter if you don’t get the win,” Leonhard said. “This one is going to hurt for a few weeks.”

Paging Le’Ron

Even though fullback Le’Ron McClain led the Ravens in 2008 with 902 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 232 attempts, it was Willis McGahee carrying the bulk of Baltimore’s ground attack.

McGahee rushed 20 times for 60 yards and two scores, while McClain primarily blocked for him.

The University of Alabama product said that the ankle injury he sustained last weekend against the Tennessee Titans was not bothering him and running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery informed him of his role before the game.

“My ankle was fine," he said. "My role today was fullback. I'd rather have no carries and win.”

Rex Watch

According to several published reports in New York newspapers, Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is slated to be announced as the next head coach of the New York Jets as early as Monday.

When Baltimore coach John Harbaugh stepped in to his new position earlier this year, he added assistant head coach to Ryan’s title and included his input on many decisions.

“I was blessed to be in this situation with John and Cam Cameron,” Ryan said. “I feel like I’m definitely more prepared to be a head coach in this league.”

Harbaugh agreed.

Rex Ryan is going to be a great head coach in the National Football League," Harbaugh said. "If somebody is wise enough to make that decision here shortly, they will have a great head football coach. I just support him completely in that.”

Delays, Departures

The Ravens’ team plane from Pittsburgh was delayed leaving the airport for an hour to de-ice in the freezing temperatures, which prompted the team to cancel a planned visit with fans at the Owings Mills, Md., mall.

Baltimore finally reached their training facility at 3:30 a.m., and a smattering of about 30 fans greeted the team on the driveway leading up to the entrance gate.


The Ravens designated former defensive tackle Tony Siragusa and director of player development O.J. Brigance as their honorary captains. Pittsburgh tabbed former Steelers safety Rod Woodson and center Dermontti Dawson. Because Brigance has difficulty moving because he is suffering from ALS, he was taken to the field on a motorized cart. … The Steelers and Ravens had met just once before in the playoffs, with the Steelers winning, 27-10, in the 2001 divisional round. … Heinz Field was packed with 65,350 fans, setting a Pittsburgh football attendance record. ... The Ravens will hold their final full-team meeting Monday at 3:30 p.m. before breaking for the offseason. Harbaugh will hold his end-of-season press conference on Wednesday.


The season is over. It was a great run and Jim had a great season. We're a little bit tired over here. Jim got home around 3 and because of a broken down limo bus, I didn't make it home till 7. I'll make the big article update later...
Leonhards Prepare For "Super" Sunday
Posted: 6:57 PM Jan 16, 2009
Last Updated: 6:57 PM Jan 16, 2009

Tony native Jim Leonhard and the Baltimore Ravens face the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday in the AFC Championship Game for the right to advance to Super Bowl 43. Sports reporter Matt Queen sat down with the Leonhard family to talk about the special season.

Jim's parents, Don and Debbie Leonhard say their son is having just as much fun playing with the Ravens then at any time during his career. Leonhard, a Flambeau high school graduate and an All-American at the University of Wisconsin, is now a starting safety in Baltimore's defensive backfield.

Thanks CallingADreamer! I love the quotes and the ending picture! So nice!


Thanks nflhighlightreel!

Leonhard proving to be Raven's safety net

By Dave Carey
Examiner Staff Writer 1/16/09

An exhausted Trevor Pryce stood by his locker following a grueling win over Tennessee that advanced the Ravens to the AFC Championship Game.

The first thought to come to the defensive lineman's mind?

"Thank God for little Jimmy Leonhard," he said of the safety who forced a fumble that was recovered on the team's 1-yard line in the fourth quarter after recovering an earlier fumble inside the team's 20-yard line.

But players and coaches have echoed Pryce's words throughout the season, as the 5-foot-8, 186-pounder has emerged as a fantastic backup after Dawan Landry suffered a season-ending spinal concussion on Sept. 21.

"Whatever it takes to do to win is what I want to do," Leonhard said. "I was fortunate enough to be placed in positions to make plays, and the fumble bounces right to me and things like that. Like I said, it's all about winning on this team. Luckily, I was the guy to be in that position last week. You never know who it'll be this week."

He finished the regular season with 69 tackles, a sack and an interception returned for a touchdown. In two playoff games, he has been even better, with 12 tackles, a 1/2 sack, an interception a forced fumble and a recovery --not bad for someone very few expected to even make the team.

Leonhard, who spent the previous three seasons with the Buffalo Bills before being released, was given a tryout by the Ravens. He was impressive --at least impressive enough to be invited to training camp, where he showed he could improve a secondary that yielded 222.3 passing yards and 27 touchdowns last season.

Initially, Rex Ryan, the defensive coordinator, was unsure if Leonhard would be a good fit, but Leonhard has gotten used to being doubted. At the University of Wisconsin, he was a walk-on before he earned a full scholarship en route to tying a school record with 21 interceptions and finishing as the Big Ten's career leader with 1,347 punt return yards.

But his production and athleticism weren't enough to get him drafted, as he had to make the Buffalo Bills as a free agent in 2005. Three years later, he had to prove himself in Baltimore.

"He actually came here on a tryout basis, one of those weekend deals," Ryan said. "[We were] like, 'You know what? This guy is pretty good. He's smart. What do you mean he's smart? Well, he's running with the starters, if that means anything."

Leonard, nicknamed "White Lightning" by cornerback Frank Walker, has helped the team's pass defense become one of the league's best, as it's second in the league in passing yards (179.7) and allowed 10 fewer touchdowns than last season.

He also has contributed to the return game. After an injury to Yamon Figurs, he took over the punt return duties, averaging 11.6 yards on 20 attempts.

"Throw away the 40 [-yard dash] times, throw away how big you are, how fast you are, throw away all that crap," receiver Derrick Mason said. "I just want a football player. You give me a football player and I can win you a championship. Jimmy, he's a football player. We've got a bunch of football players on this team. Some guys might not be the ideal size, some guys might not be the ideal speed. But you know what? They're going to play football, and that's all I care about. Give me a football player and I can get a championship."
Turnovers equal disaster when you play Ravens
Friday, January 16, 2009
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Baltimore's Jim Leonhard crashed into him at just the right spot to trigger an ejection.
"I didn't see replays of the Crumpler play," Steelers tight end Heath Miller said, "but it looked like he had the ball tucked away pretty good. These guys are always trying to rip the ball out. If you're in any traffic at all, you've got to put two hands on it."
Crumpler was separated from the ball at the Ravens' 6. If he scores, Tennessee wins.
LenDale White was separated from it at the Ravens' 15. If not, Tennessee likely wins.
Leonhard smacked into Titans' quarterback Kerry Collins, sending his pass fluttering into the hands of Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle at the Ravens' 9. Without that, Tennessee likely wins.

Ravens enjoy playing for Rex Ryan
by Brendan Prunty/The Star-Ledger
Thursday January 15, 2009, 10:13 PM
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- For Baltimore Ravens strong safety Jim Leonhard, the best day of his week is always Wednesday. Walking into the meeting room and getting that big, black binder about the upcoming game's defensive scheme makes him feel like a kid on Christmas.
Then again, every player on defensive coordinator Rex Ryan's unit feels that way. Because what he hands them isn't so much a binder filled with X's and O's. It's more like a grab bag of tricks.
And that's just the way Ryan likes it.
"That part makes it fun," Leonhard said Thursday as the Ravens prepared for Sunday's AFC title game in Pittsburgh. "I think everybody goes in there on Wednesday to get the game plan and they know they'll have opportunities to make plays. You know that coming in. You can't just show up to the meeting and sit there and get through it. You know you're going to have to get there and study and find out what the changes are. It makes it a lot of fun." ...
"Just his personality -- and obviously his schemes -- make it really enjoyable being here everyday," Leonhard said. "I hope he gets a head coaching job, because he deserves it. He has all the credentials and the resume for it."

Browns waiting on the Ravens to get Kokinis
By Steve Doerschuk staff writer
Posted Jan 15, 2009 @ 08:00 PM
Baltimore’s 2008 season might be dead without help from players who came from Kokinis’ area of responsibility:
n Wideout Derrick Mason’s 48-yard touchdown catch was huge in last weekend’s 13-10 playoff win at Tennessee.
n A week earlier, cornerback Fabian Washington had a key interception in a playoff win at Miami.
n Fiery little safety Jim Leonhard has been a sparkplug.

Nasty Ravens-Steelers rivalry to decide AFC title
"You feel a lot worse on Monday after a (Ravens-Steelers) game," Ravens safety Jim Leonhard said. "It's a physical game. It's everything you think it would be."
_ Ward has been called the most hated man in Baltimore because of how he hits, then smiles about it.
"They don't like it that I'm happy all the time," Ward said. "If the city of Baltimore is mad at me for doing that, I'm sorry to the city of Baltimore."
There's no love for Lewis or safety Ed Reed in Pittsburgh either, though, Reed said, "Man, I think we're bad guys, regardless (not just in Pittsburgh)."
_ Here's how much the Ravens are disliked in Pittsburgh: Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (note the first six letters in his last name) changed the name on his office door this week to Steelerstahl.

Adam Duerson > INSIDE THE NFL
Divisional Playoff report card: Ravens-Titans
Defensive Backs: If the Ravens had lost this game, Fabian Washington would have been the goat. He got beat badly on a long pass to Justin Gage in the first quarter and then whiffed on Chris Johnson on the Titans' first score; that whole drive was his bad. Throughout the game, he got absolutely worked over by Gage (six catches for 95 yards in first half alone) who's far from a Pro Bowl receiver.
Strong safety Jim Leonhard was far better. He fought through the block of Jake Scott, a lineman twice his size, early on to break up a tight end screen to Bo Scaife. Then he had two productive blitzes that forced bad passes by Collins, one of which was intercepted. He also recovered LenDale White's fumble at the end of the first quarter and played the low to Bart Scott's high on a high-low tackle that forced Alge Crumpler's crucial fourth quarter fumble near the goal line. Funny thing. I don't recall hearing Ed Reed's name almost all game long. Grade: Safeties A-; Corners C

Ravens Q&A with Mike Preston
Baltimore Sun columnist answers readers' questions about the Ravens-Steelers AFC title game matchup and the 13-10 win over the Titans staff
9:46 AM EST, January 14, 2009
Ed, Arlington, Va.: In my opinion, the unsung hero of the Ravens' defense has been Jim Leonhard. Will the Ravens make it a priority to re-sign him in the offseason?
Mike Preston: I won't say he is a priority. Ray Lewis is a priority. Terrell Suggs is a priority. Bart Scott is a priority. I think Leonhard has found a home in Baltimore and is a product of the system. I don't see him going anywhere during the offseason.

Bring on the Steelers
After two losses to heated rival, Ravens get another shot
By Jamison Hensley |
January 13, 2009
"If you feel like you didn't necessarily get beat but you lost the game, you always want to have the opportunity to play that team again," Ravens safety Jim Leonhard said. "Pittsburgh's got us twice this year, and give them all the credit in the world for doing that, but we feel like we have our opportunity in front of us. We have one goal all season, and that's to win the Super Bowl. And we have to beat Pittsburgh to get there."
Leonhard said that before he joined the Ravens it was obvious the teams didn't like each other. His opinion didn't change after playing two games in the heated rivalry.

Ravens notebook: Ravens expect Ryan to be a head coach next year
By Aaron Wilson, Times Staff Writer
"If he doesn't get a head coaching job somewhere, I'd be surprised," strong safety Jim Leonhard said. "He's a tremendous guy to play for, and I think he would be a great head coach. As a player, I would love to play with him whether it's here or somewhere else. As Ravens, we would all like him to be back."...
"We know that come Sunday, we're going to get all of Rex Ryan," Leonhard said. "He's going to be there for us. He's not looking ahead. He loves us, we love him."

Ravens ready for physical game with Steelers, as usual
By Aaron Wilson, Times Staff Writer
In his first season in Baltimore, strong safety Jim Leonhard has quickly been indoctrinated into the Ravens-Steelers lore. After playing for the Buffalo Bills to begin his NFL career, Leonhard has gained an appreciation for how much these games mean between Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
"It's a very physical rivalry, it's obvious that the teams don't like each other," Leonhard said. "Being here, it's the same thing. You know the people a little more and the history that's behind it.
"These games are what they're expected to be. There's a lot of talking, a lot of things going on. You know that you have to play 60 minutes that day or you're going to get it handed to you."

Leonhard Suffers Concussion in Ravens Win Over Titans
Posted: 11:08 PM Jan 12, 2009
Last Updated: 11:08 PM Jan 12, 2009
Jim Leonhard and the Baltimore Ravens are one victory away from playing in Super Bowl 43 in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, February 1st. And for the second straight playoff game, the Tony, Wisconsin native made several key plays that helped the Ravens advance to the AFC Championship game to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Baltimore Sun reported in Sunday's newspapers that Leonhard suffered a concussion on the most important play of the day for the Ravens defense. Leonhard helped cause this fumble by Tennessee tight end Alge Crumpler when it appeared that the Titans were poised to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Leonhard told the Baltimore Sun that he doesn't remember much of that play except that he saw Crumpler catch the ball and broke on it. Jim did not return to the game after suffering his injury.

...Jim is okay, just to let you know...

Another Great Moments Autograph Signing

on Tuesday January 20th at the Timonium Great Moments Store.
Jay's Great Moments
Fairground Center
2109 York Road
Timonium, MD 21093
(410) 252-4900

Last Night's Autograph Signing

The autograph signing at Great Moments went well last night! Even though we were told 300 people would be there when we pulled up to the store to see the line around the building we were a little shocked! It's always so great to see what everyone is having signed and to say hi to everyone who goes through the line. Thanks to everyone who came through and wished Jim well!

Fan Mail

Leave Jim a message here...

Little Leonhard comes up big for Ravens

By Aaron Wilson, Times Staff Writer Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OWINGS MILLS — “Thank God for little Jimmy Leonhard,” veteran defensive end Trevor Pryce exclaimed after the Baltimore Ravens toppled the top-seeded Tennessee Titans in an AFC divisional playoff victory Saturday night.

Little Jimmy Leonhard? It almost sounded like Pryce was talking about Tiny Tim from “A Christmas Carol” or legendary former Notre Dame walk-on Rudy Ruettiger instead of a hard-hitting strong safety who gave himself a mild concussion with his fumble-causing hit on Titans tight end Alge Crumpler.

At 6-foot-2, 262 pounds, Crumpler dwarfed the 5-8, 186-pound Leonhard in height and bulk. Yet, he was no match for Leonhard’s aggressiveness as his tackle combined with linebacker Bart Scott separated him from the football and staved off the Titans’ march into the Ravens’ red zone.

“He’s a football player, and that’s what I like about Jim,” wide receiver Derrick Mason said. “Throw away how big you are, how fast you are, throw away all that crap, I just want a football player. Jimmy, he’s a football player.

“Some guys might not be the ideal size, some guys might not be the ideal speed. Give me a football player, and I can get a championship.”

Leonhard posted five tackles, recovered a fumble and registered a 29-yard punt return in the Ravens’ 13-10 win over the Titans that propelled them into the AFC title game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

All season, Leonhard has answered the call after replacing Dawan Landry in the starting lineup when he suffered a season-ending spinal cord concussion against the Cleveland Browns.

He ranks fourth on the team with 85 tackles, has one sack and an interception while returning nine punts for an 11.6 average and eight kickoffs for a 20.4 average. Since the playoffs started two weeks ago, Leonhard has a dozen tackles, a half-sack, an interception, a pass deflection and one fumble recovery and forced fumble.

“My journey this year has been great,” Leonhard said. “Just to meet these people in this locker room and this organization and to be able to help out and play well, it’s been so much fun.
Click to go to the article

Autograph Signing

at Great Moments White Marsh location on Wednesday, January 14th!

Tony, WI Loves Jim Leonhard: Rusk County Village Supports Their Native NFL Star

Posted: 9:18 PM Jan 10, 2009
Last Updated: 10:54 PM Jan 10, 2009
Reporter: Kelly Schlicht

Though you can almost blink and miss it, you can't drive past the Village of Tony without noticing the homage paid to its favorite son, Jim Leonhard.

"Everybody's happy, it's like New Years Eve all over again!” says Carma Verdegan, Leonhard’s high school English teacher.

These fans have abandoned their Packers loyalties for a day and are cheering Leonhard on in the NFL playoffs.

“I’m not cheering for the Ravens, I'm cheering for Jimmy," Verdegan proudly proclaims.

It's been a long road for Leonhard: From high school star, to walk-on with the Badgers, to three seasons with the Buffalo Bills—and now this—a starting safety for the Baltimore Ravens, playing for the division title.

“I mean that's the stuff dreams are made of,” says Owen Martin, Leonhard’s school bus driver. “And to see a little kid—I mean, I have 4 of my own—to see what can happen, it just blows your mind. To think this little hick town up in northern Wisconsin....and you can watch him on the TV!"

His old assistant high school coach says Leonhard's small town work ethic has paid off.

"He never took no for an answer, and I mean, that's the bottom line," says Flambeau High School Asst. Football Coach Jim Stewart.

It helped, too, that the support from Jimmy's biggest fans have been there all along.

"I went to high school with jimmy, and he's the best player in the whole world,” says Kim Verdegan, arguably Leonhard’s most die-hard fan. “And he is a hero to me!"

And while the man his teammates call "White Lightning" has struck it big, folks back home in Tony say Jim Leonhard never forgets where he came from.

"He's just a good hometown boy and he loves to come back,” says Stewart. “And he ran the football camp here last year during the summer, and he's just a wonderful young man."

The whole town says no matter if Jim Leonhard and the Ravens win or lose, they're still extremely proud of him.

Leonhard's play leads to 3 turnovers

He also makes impact on special teams, setting up FG with punt runback
By Bill Ordine |
January 11, 2009

NASHVILLE, TENN. - It's certainly not the Ravens' defensive philosophy or temperament to play a bend-but-don't-break style, but when forced to do it yesterday against the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore's often-beleagured defenders dug in at the right time.

And when it came time to make a last-ditch stand, Ravens safety Jim Leonhard was involved in all three Baltimore takeaways that helped lift the Ravens to a 13-10 playoff win yesterday at LP Field.

In order, Leonhard:

•Applied the pass-rush pressure when Titans quarterback Kerry Collins threw a pass that was picked off by cornerback Samari Rolle at the Ravens' 12-yard line in the second quarter.

•Recovered a fumble by Titans running back LenDale White on the Baltimore 15-yard line just before halftime.

•Along with linebacker Bart Scott, helped knock the ball loose from Tennessee tight end Alge Crumpler that was recovered by cornerback Fabian Washington on the Ravens' 1-yard line midway in the fourth quarter.

Leonhard also returned a punt 29 yards to the Titans' 41-yard line late in the third quarter that gave the Ravens a short field the offense used to get a 21-yard field goal.

"The fumble recovery [that was forced by linebacker Jarret Johnson] was just being in the right spot at the right time," Leonhard said. "[White] fumbled it and it came though a crowd and hit me right in the chest. It was just one of those gifts of just being around the ball.

"The last one, I wish I remembered more of it. I saw [Crumpler] caught the ball and broke on it. I don't know what I hit, the ball, his leg or whatever, and then he fumbled."

On the play, Leonhard suffered a concussion and did not return to the game.

For the Ravens, yesterday's game was a reversal of how they normally like to approach things. Usually, the defense is on the attack and the opposing offense is back on its heels.

But the Ravens were frequently backpedaling yesterday, just trying to keep the Titans out of the end zone.

"They kind of got the best of us early in the game, but we got off the field when we needed to," Leonhard said.

"They'll be kicking themselves tonight and the whole offseason," Leonhard said of the Titans. "They moved the ball. They did what they needed to do on offense, but we got off the field when we had to."

Despite being woozy after the game, Leonhard relished the role in which he finds himself since joining the Ravens after three seasons of part-time duty in Buffalo.

"I've been put in a position to make plays, and I've been doing it. … I'm just having the most fun playing football that I've had in a long time," he said. "This group of guys is amazing, and we feel like we're on a higher mission."

Wisconsin Badgers football: Leonhard legend continues to grow

Jim Polzin
The Capital Times

The Jim Leonhard story just keeps getting better.

The former University of Wisconsin football star had another big game Saturday to help the Baltimore Ravens move within one victory of a trip to the Super Bowl.

Leonhard forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and had a 29-yard punt return that helped set up a field goal in Baltimore's 13-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans in an AFC playoff game in Nashville, Tenn.

A week ago, Leonhard had seven tackles, an interception and a half-sack in the sixth-seeded Ravens' victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Former Badgers Nick Greisen, a linebacker, and Matt Katula, a long-snapper, also play for the Ravens.

Another former UW player, Nick Hayden, saw his season come to an end Saturday night. Hayden, a rookie defensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers, had a tackle in a 33-13 loss to the Arizona Panthers in Charlotte, N.C.

Two other former Badgers, San Diego teammates Chris Chambers and Michael Bennett, will be in action Sunday when the Chargers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Baltimore Ravens: Lewis, Reed Playmakers, Ngata and Leonhard Fly Under the Radar

by Isaac
Let's take a look at safety Jim Leonhard.

Leonhard has been absolutely phenomenal this year. The Bills released him after having several very low-impact years with Buffalo. The Ravens picked him up in a deal not many seemed to notice. But it got noticed.

In Week three, Ravens starting safety Dawan Landry went down with a concussion. That left a spot for Leonhard. The 5'8" inch "White Lightning" has been nothing short of miraculous. In that same game, he had a great punt return, a sack and a pass batted down.

"This is a team where you have to earn respect and you have to go out there every day and do your job and make plays. That's been my role since I've been in the NFL," said Leonhard, who is also the Ravens' punt returner. "As cliché as it is, you really are only one play away and at this level, they expect you to keep it up at that top level. When it's your role, it's your job on this team to be prepared." Leonhard said.

And make plays he has. Counting the playoffs, he has 81 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one touchdown. He has been outstanding in punt returning and kick returning. During the season, he had 28 returns for 395 yards and averaged over 11 yards per punt return.

His postseason play has been ridiculous. He had seven tackles, a sack, an interception and a pass deflection against Miami. Against Tennessee, he had five tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan knew it was a good move. "Our pro personnel guy brought Jim in for a tryout weekend," remembered Ryan. "Jim learned our defense in a day. George [pro personnel man George Kokinis] asked me what we thought. I said: 'We ran him with the first team by the second practice.' He's a big-time athlete, but not the biggest. He plays like a Raven. He's smart, passionate and physical; our kind of guy."

The signing and the impact Leonhard has had on the Baltimore Ravens again proves how good Ozzie Newsome is at finding talent. We are talking about a General Manager who has drafted Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jon Ogden, Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco, Haloti Ngata, Jason Brown, Jamal Lewis, Peter Boulware, Todd Heap, and Le'Ron McClain.

The signing of Leonhard is just a minor plus when you throw him in the group of those great football players.

Leonhard has had a brilliant season and the Ravens want to and should re-sign him to a long term contract. The guy has a bright future.

Going into the game against Tennessee, the Titans have an advantage at those positions—and others. Albert Haynesworth is considered a better nose tackle then Ngata. Michael Griffin is considered a better safety then Leonhard. Collins is considered a better quarterback then Flacco.

Cortland Finnegan is considered a better corner then Fabian Washington. Jeff Fisher is considered a much better coach then Jon Harbaugh.

A Twix Bar: $2. A Honus Wagner baseball card: $2.3 million. Ngata, Leonhard, Flacco, Washington and Harbaugh prepping for an AFC Championship Game and Haynesworth, Griffin, Collins, Finnegan, and Fisher watching it: priceless.
Stover's late FG moves Ravens past Titans and into AFC title game
Late in the third quarter, Baltimore forced a punt from Tennessee and Jim Leonhard returned it 29 yards to give the Ravens the ball at the Tennessee 41.

Divisional Playoff report card: Ravens-Titans
Adam Duerson > INSIDE THE NFL
Defensive Backs: If the Ravens had lost this game, Fabian Washington would have been the goat. He got beat badly on a long pass to Justin Gage in the first quarter and then whiffed on Chris Johnson on the Titans' first score; that whole drive was his bad. Throughout the game, he got absolutely worked over by Gage (six catches for 95 yards in first half alone) who's far from a Pro Bowl receiver.
Strong safety Jim Leonhard was far better. He fought through the block of Jake Scott, a lineman twice his size, early on to break up a tight end screen to Bo Scaife. Then he had two productive blitzes that forced bad passes by Collins, one of which was intercepted. He also recovered LenDale White's fumble at the end of the first quarter and played the low to Bart Scott's high on a high-low tackle that forced Alge Crumpler's crucial fourth quarter fumble near the goal line. Funny thing. I don't recall hearing Ed Reed's name almost all game long. Grade: Safeties A-; Corners C
Special Teams: Sam Koch put the Titans in a pinch early on with a second quarter punt that was downed on the one after bouncing an inch from the goal line. Leonhard's 29-yard third-quarter punt return to the Tennessee 41 made up for some offensive deficiencies and set the Ravens up for a go-ahead field goal. Matt Stover was reliable, going 2-for-2, including the 43-yard game-winner. Grade: A-

An Ode to Jim Leonhard
January 11, 2009
When you play on the Ravens defense, it’s easy to get overlooked. But, Jim Leonhard has been overlooked before. I have had the privilage of watching Leonhard play safety since his days at University of Wisconsin when he was a walk on. Back then, Leonhard was breaking up passes, intercepting balls, and making open field tackles until he finally earned a scholarship. Now, after 4 years in the NFL, Leonhard is playing for one of the best defenses in the NFL and playing well.

Ravens win slugfest with Titans
Posted by The Associated Press January 10, 2009 21:31PM
Bironas missed a 51-yard field goal midway in the third period despite having the wind at his back, adding to Tennessee's litany of blunders. And when Jim Leonhard returned a punt 29 yards to the Titans 41, Baltimore finally had good field position.

George: Ravens’ defense imposes its will
Finally, early in the fourth quarter, Titans tight end Alge Crumpler fumbled the ball at the Ravens’ 6 after being pummeled by Baltimore safety Jim Leonhard. The Ravens recovered at the 1, halting the Titans’ touchdown try.

Ravens Get Out of Tennessee Alive
Titans' Missed Opportunities Help Baltimore Advance: Ravens 13, Titans 10
By Les Carpenter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 11, 2009; Page D01
Then came a fourth-quarter pass to tight end Alge Crumpler, who caught the ball on the Ravens 6-yard line, only to fumble when hit by Baltimore safety Jim Leonhard.
"I think, in the end, our guys found a way to win," Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said.

Ravens Upend Titans
By IRA KAUFMAN | The Tampa Tribune
Published: January 11, 2009
Late in the opening half, LenDale White's fumble at the Baltimore 15 was recovered by strong safety Jim Leonhard, who plays in Reed's immense shadow.
Leonhard's 29-yard punt return led to Stover's 21-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, snapping a 7-7 deadlock. On Tennessee's ensuing possession, Leonhard's hit on tight end Alge Crumpler forced a fumble recovered at Baltimore's 1-yard line.
"They got the best of us early in the game, but we ended up with those three takeaways near our own goal line," Leonhard said. "I'm sure the Titans will be kicking themselves for a long time."

Tennessee tumbles — again
Mistakes prove costly to Titans as Baltimore pulls off upset
By JOHN MCCLAIN Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
Crumpler’s fumble was a deal-breaker for the Titans. On second down at the Baltimore 13, Collins threw a short pass to Crumpler, who gained seven yards before he was hit by safety Jim Leonhard. The ball popped out, and cornerback Fabian Washington recovered at the 1.

Ravens notebook: Special game for Stover
By Aaron Wilson and Rich Dubroff, Times Staff Writers
Strong safety Jim Leonhard suffered a concussion toward the end of the game on his big hit on tight end Alge Crumpler and didn’t return. Afterward, Leonhard spoke coherently.

Trend-Spotting in the N.F.L. Playoffs: Divisional Round
By Naila-Jean Meyers
A look at some of the story lines to come out of Saturday’s divisional playoff games:
1. Anyone can be a star on the Ravens’ defense. For all the talk about Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, the name heard again and again Saturday during the Ravens-Titans game was Jim Leonhard’s. The Ravens’ “other” starting safety, Leonhard recovered LenDale White’s fumble at the Baltimore 15 right before halftime, helping keep it a 7-7 tie. Late in the third quarter, he gave the Ravens great field position with a 29-yard punt return. With the Baltimore offense sputtering all day, starting at the Tennessee 41 sparked a drive to a field goal for a 10-7 lead. Then on the Titans’ ensuing drive, Leonhard forced and recovered Alge Crumpler’s fumble near the goal line. Leonhard, who is in his first season with Baltimore, has made a career out of being overlooked. He was a walk-on at Wisconsin, but became a three-year starter, tied the school record for career interceptions and finished as the Big Ten career leader in punt return yards. He was undrafted in 2005, but by 2007 he was starting for the Bills.

Ravens kick down the door to AFC title game
By AARON WILSON, Landmark News Service
Published January 11, 2009
The Ravens won despite being outgained 391-211 in total offense and had a dozen fewer first downs. Strong safety Jim Leonhard's huge hit on tight end Alge Crumpler when the Titans threatened to score in the fourth quarter made Crumpler cough up the ball with cornerback Fabian Washington recovering at the Ravens' 1-yard line.
"We knew what kind of men we had on our football team: warriors, mighty men, all those things that you guys chuckle about," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Those things are all true. That was a knockdown, drag-out battle. “At the end, our guys found a way to win. Like they won the first game, we found a way to win the second game."
Leonhard's big hit, which combined with Scott on the tackle, allowed the Ravens to preserve a 10-7 lead a few drives prior to Titans kicker Rob Bironas' game-tying 27-yard field goal that preceded Stover putting the game away for good.
"We gave up some yards and some big plays, but we did whatever we had to do," Leonhard said. "We feel like this wasn't our goal just to win this game. Our goal was to go to the Super Bowl and win it. This is a stepping stone to get there."

Playoff Report Card: Ravens 13, Titans 10
Returners: B+
Tom Zbikowski is looking like a better and better pickup each day, and what can you say about Jim Leonhard? He doesn’t have the measurables that leap out at you, but there’s no arguing with his production. He’s smart, catches the ball, and makes plays. The most underrated offseason pickup in the NFL this year.

Ravens-Titans: Position Comparison
Br-ravens1_tiny by Rexx on Jan 9, 2009 10:07 AM EST
S: This might be the biggest bone of contention with the fans of both teams. The Titans' Chris Hope and Michael Griffin have played extrememly solid, with 11 interceptions between them. They are fast, smart and hit hard. Together, they are as talented a pair as any in the league. However, the Ravens have Ed Reed and that pretty much ends the comparison right there. Ed has as many picks as the Titans pair combined and is a game changing player as well as a threat to score every game. Jim Leonhard has played brilliantly in place of the injured Dawan Landry, as a solid tackler and versatile addition as the primary punt returner as well. Regardless of the Titans joint success, I have to show my true colors, and go with the purple. Advantage: Ravens


Whispers — AFC North
Ravens hope to re-sign versatile Leonhard
Jan. 10, 2009
The Ravens would like to re-sign S Jim Leonhard in the offseason, the way we hear it. Leonhard is slated to be an unrestricted free agent. If re-signed, Leonhard would, at the least, be the favorite to be the team’s punt returner in 2009. Leonhard, who has been the starter at strong safety for much of the ’08 campaign after Dawan Landry suffered a season-ending neck injury in Week Three, could also compete for playing time in the secondary. Leonhard’s emergence as a punt returner, coupled with rookie S Tom Zbikowski’s ability to return kickoffs, casts doubt on the long-term future of WR-RS Yamon Figurs in Baltimore, a source close to the club notes. Figurs has lost both jobs.

Ravens looking to re-sign Leonhard
The Ravens will attempt to sign safety Jim Leonhard in the offseason, according to
Our View: Leonhard has started most of the season at strong safety due to a season-ending injury in Week 3 to starter Dawan Landry. He's also been an impact player for the club on punt returns, hence the Ravens' interest in retaining him.

Pre Game

Punt teams play key role in Ravens-Titans playoff game
By Bill Ordine |
January 10, 2009
Since the last time the Titans and Ravens played in October, when Tennessee won, 13-10, the Ravens have made Jim Leonhard their full-time punt returner, and Hentrich has noticed. Leonhard had an average of 11.6 yards in the regular season, sixth best in the NFL.
"He catches the ball well, he picks his hole and he hits it hard," Hentrich said of Leonhard.

Reed creates memorable moments on the field
Past 7 games have been punctuated with interceptions, touchdown runs
By Childs Walker |
January 10, 2009
"At this point in my career, there's not a lot I haven't seen," Leonhard says. "But almost every game with Ed, I find myself saying, 'I've never seen that. I couldn't do that.'"
"If he doesn't watch more, he picks it up a lot faster," Leonhard says. "He'll watch it until it makes sense and he can say, 'In this situation, this is what they'll do.'
"I'm pretty good at watching film, I think. But then when I talk to him, I'll go, 'You know what, I missed that.'"

NFL Preview - Baltimore (12-5) At Tennessee (13-3)
POSTED: 3:53 pm CST January 7, 2009
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor
Safeties Reed (41 tackles, 9 INT, 1 sack during the regular season) and Jim Leonhard (69 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) figure to play a key role against the tight ends this time around, and given his recent exploits, Collins will have to be aware of Reed's location on the field at all times.

FOX: Steelers Will Squeak By, Cards Will Fall
January 10th, 2009 By BOB FOX
I also want to send a shout out to S Jim Leonhard of the Ravens, who also has been making some key plays for the Ravens defense and also is a fine punt returner.

{Thanks for the shout out Bob!}

Posted by Josh Alper on January 10, 2009, 10:37 a.m. EST
Said Ravens S Jim Leonhard of S Ed Reed, “At this point in my career, there’s not a lot I haven’t seen. But almost every game with Ed, I find myself saying, ‘I’ve never seen that. I couldn’t do that.’”

Out from under the radar: Leonhard flying high with RavensOut from under
And strong safety Jim Leonhard did a little bit of everything.

Jim Leonhard?

Yup, Jim Leonhard.

The former University of Wisconsin standout has answered the call all season for the Ravens after taking over for injured starter Dawan Landry in the second game of the season. Now in his fourth NFL season - after no one offered the 5-foot-8, 184-pounder a Division I scholarship out of Flambeau High School in Tony - Leonhard had his finest hour against the Dolphins with a half-sack, seven tackles and an interception.

Thank You For the Support

Thanks to everyone who calls, texts, and emails us in support of Jim! It is great to hear from all of you and it is so nice to know that Jim's fan base is spreading! It means a lot to have so much extra support behind Jim!

Postseason Pick

Badger Blog Alliance
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Jimmy Leonhard just picked off a Chad Pennington pass
That's Jim Leonhard, from Tony, Wisconsin (population: 105), walk-on at the University of Wisconsin and current starting strong safety for the Baltimore Ravens.

In my Wish List for 2009, I predicted that he would make an interception in the Superbowl this year, but I think this'll do.

Dolphins' Bess injures thumb against Ravens
Miami (AP)
Bess appeared to suffer the injury in the when he tackled safety Jim Leonhard, who was returning an interception by Chad Pennington.

5 takeaways help Ravens mow down Dolphins 27-9
Reed had two interceptions, and Jim Leonhard and Fabian Washington made one apiece. Terrell Suggs recovered a fumble by Patrick Cobbs early in the second half at the Miami 19, and four plays later Le'Ron McClain scored on an 8-yard run for a 20-3 lead.

Ravens' defense clamps down on Dolphins
PA SportsTicker
Published: Monday, January 05, 2009
Jim Leonhard and Fabian Washington also intercepted Pennington, who was picked off just seven times in the regular season and had not thrown more than one in a game this year.

Leonhard sets Flacco up in good shape
By Dan Kolko on January 4, 2009 1:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
All Jim Leonhard does is make plays.
The guy doesn't talk. He doesn't showboat. He just makes big plays in big spots.
Leonhard just picked off Chad Pennington and used his return skills to get the ball out to the Miami 45 yard line. Pennington got pressured up the middle and had to spin away from the traffic. He was looking for Ted Ginn Jr., but was on the move as he threw the ball and it floated over Ginn's head.
Leonhard was there for the pick -- just Pennington's 8th pick of the season. To make matters worse for the Miami QB, he took an absolute SHOT from Bart Scott just after he got rid of the ball.

Reed leads Ravens' dominating D
by Alex Marvez
"One thing (Reed) doesn't get enough credit for is how smart he is," Ravens strong safety Jim Leonhard said. "He prepares like nobody else I've been around. You put that with the athletic ability he has and you've got a special player."

Ravens Roll Over Miami
Defense Shuts Down ‘Phins forcing five turnovers
By Matt Sugam
Special to The Epoch Times
The first interception was by safety Jim Leonhard in the second quarter.

In AFC, defensive grit beats offensive glamor
By John Romano, Times Sports Columnist
In print: Monday, January 5, 2009
"We want to cause havoc, week in and week out," said Ravens safety Ed Reed, who had two interceptions Sunday. "Ain't nothing different today. This is what we do."
Specifically what the Ravens do is take the ball away from other teams, by any means necessary. The Dolphins tied an NFL record with just 13 turnovers in the regular season, yet the Ravens forced five in one afternoon.
"The word for it is opportunistic," safety Jim Leonhard said. "We take advantage of mistakes like no defense I've ever been around."

Ravens’ Reed wins staredown with Pennington
The Kansas City Star
Ravens veteran linebacker Ray Lewis made sure to credit cornerback Fabian Washington and safety Jim Leonhard, whose interceptions also made life miserable for Pennington. The four interceptions were a Dolphins’ postseason record.
“Everyone on our defense did an excellent job today,” Lewis said.

Report Card: Ravens 27, Dolphins 9
Dom Bonvissuto
Defensive Backs: The Ravens took advantage of a disastrous stretch by Pennington spanning the second and third quarter, picking off the Dolphins QB four times -- two by Ed Reed, who returned one for a TD, and one each by Jim Leonhard and Fabian Washington. Grade: A+

RAVENS REPORT CARD: Ravens 27, Dolphins 9 ~ January 5, 2009
Dolphins turn over game to more physical Ravens.
By Steve Hasler
Safeties: A
Shaking off a couple of missed tackles early, Jim Leonhard ended up being a big contributor on defense. Playing close to the line of scrimmage, Leonhard was in on a number of tackles on running plays (seven total tackles). He also grabbed an interception to give the Ravens possession at midfield. Never to be outdone, Defensive Player of The Year candidate Ed Reed picked off Chad Pennington twice, scoring once. Reed also made a hard tackle to alleviate concerns about his early-season neck injury. Jim Leonhard teamed with Haruki Nakamura for a sack of Pennington late in the game.

Jim Leonhard
Bills fans had to cringe a bit watching Jim Leonhard look like a play-maker for the Baltimore Ravens' defense in the wild-card win at Miami Sunday.

Hard not to be happy for Bannan and Leonhard
Chris Brown
Posted January 5th, 2009
Leonhard of course had a big INT in Sunday’s game at Miami along with seven tackles to finish third on the team, a half sack and a quarterback hit from his strong safety position.
Most of you that watched the game probably heard Phil Simms and Jim Nantz mention that Leonhard upon signing with the Ravens, learned Rex Ryan’s defense in one day. Leonhard was always mentally sharp, which is what made him such a good anticipator.

NFL Playoffs: Ex-Wisconsin Badger Leonhard, Ravens pick off Dolphins
Wisconsin State Journal
By Steve Wine
associated Press
MIAMI — Jim Leonhard and the Baltimore Ravens had Chad Pennington spinning, ducking, on his heels and on his back. When he did manage to get a pass away, they were often there to snatch it.
The Ravens came up with four interceptions, including one by Leonhard -- the former Wisconsin Badger -- and another returned 64 yards for a touchdown by Ed Reed, and won 27-9 Sunday to spoil the Miami Dolphins' first playoff game in seven seasons.
Leonhard came up with one of them in the first half for the Ravens as part of a big game for the starting strong safety. The Tony, Wis., native also registered 6 solo tackles, assisted on another and was credited for half a sack. He also returned two punts for 21 yards.

King for a day
Bob Wolfey
Sports Illustrated's Peter King had high praise for former University of Wisconsin defensive back Jim Leonhard, who plays safety for the Baltimore Ravens.
In his Monday blog, King says Leonhard gets overlooked because safety Ed Reed gets all the attention.
"Reed sucks all the publicity out of the secondary, and rightfully so, but Leonhard, in the regular defense and a part-time returner, has been a terrific complementary player since coming from Buffalo in free-agency last winter," King writes. "Six tackles, an interception and a half-sack Sunday (against Miami)."

Ravens Overwhelm Dolphins
Br-ravens1_tiny by Rexx on Jan 5, 2009 11:29 AM EST
The Ravens corners were too fast and safety Jim Leonhard might have been the player of the game if not for Ed Reed. Leonhard was everywhere, making tackles, breaking up or intercepting passes and even returning punts. I’ve said all season that I liked him better than Dawan Landry and will hard pressed to be comfortable with him losing his starting job to him next season. Combined with the rookie safties, Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, this team is set in the deep secondary, as all these guys could start for most teams in the league.

Why Ed Reed Missed Out on Defensive Player of the Year
With a revolving door of defensive backs playing beside him, Reed had to play more cautiously, often covering more ground and unable to take as many chances. Once Rolle and Washington returned to the lineup and safety Jim Leonhard became more comfortable in the backfield, Reed’s playmaking ability was reborn.

Baltimore Ravens show how to build a Super defense
Here's how a great defense was built (5 draft picks, 5 free agents and 1 via trade):
SS Jim Leonhard. Signed March 28, 2008. ... Buffalo contract expired Feb. 28, 2008. ... originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Bills in 2005. Played in 37 games with Buffalo in three seasons (including six starts in 2008). The Bills liked him, but he's 5-foot-8, 186 pounds and they wanted a bigger player at the position.

Leonhard Shines in NFL Playoff Debut
Posted: 7:17 PM Jan 5, 2009
Last Updated: 7:26 PM Jan 5, 2009
Jim Leonhard, the Tony, Wisconsin native, former Flambeau high school, and Wisconsin Badgers standout had a memorable performance in his first NFL playoff game on Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens safety recorded seven tackles, a half-sack, and an interception during Baltimore's 27-9 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Posted by Josh Alper on January 6, 2009, 8:50 a.m. EST
While Bills S Ko Simpson deals with legal trouble, Ravens S Jim Leonhard, cut by the Bills, starts in the playoffs.