About 1:50, I got ready to go inside. I found myself talking to a few people all wearing #36 jerseys. The mom and daughter asked me if I knew who wore #36. And I was so out of it and my voice was so drained from all the yelling, I said "David Barrett?", who wore that number in the early 2000's. So I blew it with Jim Leonhard’s gorgeous sister.

haha... that was me and my mom! (wife, not sister) that's okay, after that game, I think he now knows who Jim is!

Looking Ahead to 2010 Foes

2010 Home Opponents 2010 Away Opponents
Buffalo (6-10) Buffalo (6-10)
Miami (7-9) Miami (7-9)
New England (10-6) New England (10-6)
Baltimore (9-7) Cleveland (5-11)
Cincinnati (10-6) Pittsburgh (9-7)
Green Bay (11-5) Chicago (7-9)
Minnesota (12-4) Detroit (2-14)
Houston (9-7) Denver (8-8)

dear governor...

To any of you who don't know me, I LOVE watching The View. Today, the governor of New York was on. I usually enjoy when they have political guests on... well, maybe the governor needs to stick to politics. Governor Patterson to Tim Hasselbeck who was sitting in for his wife Elisabeth, "You switched jobs with your wife today... I was thinking that um, maybe if some of the members of the jets defensive back core switched jobs with their wives, the jets would be at the super bowl right now."

Mr. Governer... I can't do this...

Click here to view the fumble recovery by Jim!
And I sure as hell will never do this...

at Indianapolis game photos

from newyorkjets.com
from newyorkjets.com
from gettyimages.com
from gettyimages.com

Serby's Sunday Q & A with Jim Leonhard

Last Updated: 9:21 PM, January 24, 2010
Posted: 2:13 AM, January 24, 2010

The Post’s Steve Serby chatted with the Jets’ hard-nosed, 27-year-old strong safety in the lead-up to today’s AFC Championship game in Indianapolis.

Q: If you win today, do you expect Rex Ryan to cry like a baby?

A: Yes! Rex doesn’t hide from the fact that he will judge himself, and judge his teams, on Super Bowls. Maybe he won’t. This isn’t the challenge. The challenge isn’t the AFC Championship game for him, it’s the Super Bowl, so maybe he won’t cry. But I can only imagine, as emotional a guy as he is, that there’ll probably be a tear or two.

Q: Why guys will run through a brick wall for Rex?

A: Everyone’s been lied to, everyone’s been told something that really isn’t true. Your parents tell you you’re great your whole life, and sometimes it’s not true. I watch “American Idol” every once in a while, you see all the people that go on the show and they think they’re the best singers in the world because no one ever told them that they’re not. Rex is gonna tell you the truth.



Q: Why do you like returning punts so much?

A: I get a huge rush returning punts. Once I got to college (Wisconsin) and didn’t have the ball in my hands all the time, [it was an] opportunity to make a play, and live out those dreams of an offensive player again. You gotta be a little crazy to want to do it, but I enjoy it.

Q: So you’re a little crazy?

A: Absolutely. Obviously, I dive after balls with no helmet on and stuff like that, that’s not really normal (smiles).

Q: On the Malcom Floyd non-fumble.

A: It’s not something in the moment that you really think about. I made the hit, saw the ball come out, and dove at it. Unfortunately [I] got hit by a little friendly fire, Bart Scott gave me a big knot on the back of my head. It’s not something I would recommend, especially you’re a little seventh-grader or something playing in a game that you might think is a Super Bowl — it’s not. You might want to keep your head out of there, and leave that for the professionals playing in the playoffs.

Q: Bart got you with his helmet?

A: He said he was sorry right away, but it doesn’t really help.

Q: You have a knot?

A: I do. . . . It’s not too bad. No blood or anything so . . . I can handle it (smiles).

Q: Funniest thing you’ve heard trash-talk-wise from Bart?

A: Man . . . that’s too long a list . . . I’ll just say, and I can’t necessarily say a lot of it, but it is hilarious if it’s a player that he knows or has played with, and has stories about, because there’s a lot of things that get rehashed with those players that they would either love to forget or maybe haven’t thought about in a while.
Q: Any examples?

A: I actually can’t tell you one that would be printable.

Q: Do you trash-talk?

A: Generally the only time I’ll talk is if they start talkin’ to me. There’s some fake tough guys in this league that they’ll hit you or they’ll block you or something, the chest starts to swell up, they think they really accomplished something and start talkin’. Generally, then that makes them a little bit of a target — I’ll be comin’ for ’em the rest of the game.

Q: Your interception of Philip Rivers?

A: It feels great to make a huge impact play in a game of that magnitude. That’s what you play for.
Q: Scouting report on Jim Leonhard?

A: Intelligent player . . . I’m not gonna make too many mistakes. . . . I’m gonna give it everything I have. I might not be the flashiest player, but if it comes down to heart, I’m probably gonna get the job done for you.

Q: Do you see yourself as an inspiration to smaller guys?

A: If you’re a role model for any kid, for whatever reason, I think that’s a good thing. A lot of people don’t want to be role models but . . . it’s what we are. We are fortunate enough to do a job that any kid who ever puts the pads on would like to do. So, I think you’re automatically a role model, and I like that.

Q: White Lightning?

A: Someone gave me that (nickname) in Baltimore last year, one of the guys on the team. I really haven’t heard it too much here, but some people are trying to get it worked back up.

Q: Boyhood idol?

A: Barry Sanders. Undersized guy that was the best, you know? There was nobody like him playing football, and he did some things that nobody else could do, and it just gave me a lot of hope as an undersized kid growing up that I could do that one day.

Q: You were a left-handed pitcher and infielder.

A: I was a big Pedro (Martinez) fan as a kid. I just loved watching him pitch, and that was when he was in his prime and just really going after guys.

Q: You had one game in high school — 500 total yards.

A: They were talkin’ too much going into the game. They were talking about how they were gonna beat us and we weren’t nearly as good as we thought we were, so we had to put it on ‘em a little bit.

Q: You played quarterback?

A: We ran the wishbone, so we ran the ball a lot . . . and we got on them boys a little bit.

Q: Do you remember the score?

A: There was a lot to a little.

Q: Tony, Wisconsin? A: It’s your stereotypical small town, what you think of . . . no street lights . . . close, tight-knit community where everybody knows everything, and everyone cares about you, and everyone definitely has their opinions and their advice on what you should be doing.

Q: Biggest influence growing up?

A: I had a huge advantage just because I had an brother (Brian) who was a couple of years older than me. I wanted to do everything that he did, so essentially whenever he started doing anything, that’s when I started.

Q: Describe (your wife) Katie Childs.

A: Patient. She needs to be. She’s unbelievable. I put her through a lot sometimes, and she never backs away.

Q: Team Rubicon?

A: Two friends of mine (Jake Wood and Jeff Lang), guys that I played with back in Wisconsin — one’s a Marine, one’s an EMT — they put together a group of guys to go down to Haiti and help in the relief, and not only just provide goods, but provide themselves.

Q: Three dinner guests?

A: Jackie Robinson; Michael Jordan; Jesus.

Q: Your golf handicap?

A: Ten, 12. The winters kill me, man, those Wisconsin winters.

Q: Favorite movie?

A: “Wedding Crashers.”

Q: Favorite actor?

A: Vince Vaughn.

Q: Favorite actress?

A: Angelina Jolie.

Q: Favorite entertainer?

A: Jamie Foxx.

Q: Favorite meal?

A: Steak.

Gleason: Final odds and ends from Indy

Posted: January 26, 2010 - 2:00 AM
Gleason's final odds and ends from Indy

Jets won't lose their swagger

Got the feeling after the game that the Colts had grown sick of the Jets' brash words during the week. "I think that is the whole New York mentality," Brackett said. "Like we always say, 'Talk is cheap.' I think it is all about going out there and playing football and that is what we did today."

Yet the Jets were only verbalizing what every other team believes — or should believe — leading to games. They believed they would win. Is there something wrong with that?

Jets safety Jim Leonhard assured us that they aren't going to tone things down. "We aren't going to lose our confidence," he said. "That's one thing we won't do. We will feel good about ourselves again."

Disaster in Haiti spurs Colts WR Garçon

By Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Jan. 24, 2010

Tough loss: When the Jets lost nickel cornerback Donald Strickland to an injury in the first quarter, their pass defense felt it immediately.

The game plan was to pressure Manning and play a good dose of man-to-man coverage against the Colts receivers. Shutdown corner Darelle Revis blanketed Wayne, and Strickland was doing a solid job against Garçon and Collie, but once he left the game, Manning went after the less experienced Dwight Lowery.

The injury forced benched starter Lito Sheppard to play a role in the specialty defenses, creating another hole. Backup safety Eric Smith and third-string cornerback Drew Coleman also were forced to play a significant number of snaps.

“When Strickland went down, it made things tough,” safety Jim Leonhard said. “When you’re down guys, you have to start switching positions and it’s hard to get comfortable. It’s frustrating.”

Jets Open Thread: Gauging the Mood

The New York Times NFL Blog

7) Are you happy? Brian Bassett of The Jets Blog says you should be. Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post says it’s not easy to get another opportunity like this. He quoted safety Jim Leonhard:

“Nothing is guaranteed you in this business. Maybe we’ll be back. But you never know. We expected to play well. We needed to play better. And now we need to take how we feel right now into next season. But that’s next season. Even with most of the same players, it’ll be a whole new team.”

Colts Put End to Jets' Surprising Run

By UCN on January 25, 2010 8:20 AM

"You never know when an opportunity like this is going to come again," safety Jim Leonhard said. "Maybe this football team needed to get here and have this experience in order to take the next step. We thought we were ready this year. Maybe we weren't."

Manning throws 3 TD passes as Colts end Jets' dream season

January 25, 2010 By RODERICK BOONE roderick.boone@newsday.com

Jim Leonhard had almost completed the slow trek from the field to the Jets' locker room when the safety shook his head slightly as a few team officials applauded.

The Jets had come so close, had nearly kept their improbable postseason run going. But Leonhard and his teammates were headed in to hear Rex Ryan's postgame thoughts after the team fell short in its bid to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in 41 years.

"Just a lot of frustration," Leonhard said. "You come up short of your goals, so it's really hard to say anything. He understands how hard this team worked and how dedicated this team was to each other and to winning. So there's not a whole lot to say. It's too fresh a wound to say anything and make yourself feel better."


"There's a lot of thoughts going through your head," Leonhard said. "You never know when an opportunity like this is going to come up again. It's one of those things where maybe this football team needed to get here and have this experience in order to take the next step. We thought we were ready this year. Maybe we weren't.

"But everyone in this locker room will take this experience, learn from it and understand what they have to do going forward from this point to where we have a chance to be successful in this game."

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets incomplete as Peyton Manning proves right on target for Colts

Mike Lupica
Originally Published:Sunday, January 24th 2010, 9:03 PM
Updated: Sunday, January 24th 2010, 9:24 PM

"We had things going our way for most of the first half," safety Jim Leonhard said in the Jets' locker room. "We had them back on their heels."

Leonhard had recovered a fumble and the Jets had kicked a field goal to make it 17-6. A long time ago, the Jets were up on Elway and the Broncos in Denver and now they were up like this on Peyton and the Colts. Only then Manning got the ball back with 2:11 left in the half and 80 yards to go and sometimes with this quarterback and this offense, the field looks as wide open as the lane does to LeBron James when he wants to go dunk the ball.

Former Badger Leonhard making big splash

By Andrew Wagner
OnMilwaukee.com Staff Writer

All eyes today will be focused on Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and of course, Brett Favre.

But among the players on four teams battling today for a chance at the Super Bowl, none - not even the aging quarterback who's turned the last two years into a soap opera for his longtime fans - have a better story that the New York Jets' starting strong safety.

Standing all of five feet, eight inches and weighing in at 185 pounds, Leonhard is the last guy you'd think to be a step away from the Super Bowl. But that's where Leonhard finds himself today - for the second straight year.

A little more than four years ago, Leonhard couldn't have possibly expected to end up in this position. Undrafted after an amazing career at Wisconsin, Leonhard signed with the Buffalo Bills where he would end up the only undrafted player on the 53-man roster.

Of course, it helped that he'd done it before.

Leonhard was recruited to Wisconsin as a walk-on after a standout career at Flambeau High School. It didn't take long for Leonhard to make an impression.

"A few days into two-a-days, I told the secondary coach to get that little guy off the scout team and on to our two-deep (roster) with us," says Barry Alvarez, the former Wisconsin head coach and current athletic director.

"He just had that knack about him -- and still does; he was always around the ball and just has such a good feel."

He saw extensive action in the Badgers' nickel formation as a freshman but by the end of his sophomore year, he was al All-Big Ten selection. Named a captain his junior year and finally earned a scholarship for his final season in Madison.

By the time he wrapped up his Wisconsin career, he'd own a share of the school record with 21 interceptions and his 1,347 punt return yards stood as a Big Ten Conference record until Michigan's Steve Breaston passed him in 2006.

"He's such a tremendous athlete," Alvarez says. "He's very intelligent. He understands the game."

Leonhard would sign with Baltimore before the 2008 season after impressing Ravens' defensive coordinator Rex Ryan during a tryout. He was moved into the starting lineup in place of injured Dawan Landry and was a key component in the Ravens' run to the AFC Championship game a year ago.

When Ryan left the Ravens to become the Jets' head coach this season, he did all he could to get Leonhard to come, too. Ryan signed Leonhard to a three-year, $6 million contract and dealt Abram Elam away, installing Leonhard as his starter.

He was fourth on the team with 76 tackles during the regular season and is second in the post season with 10.

In the Wild Card playoff against Cincinnati, Leonhard sacked Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, forced a fumble and finished with four tackles. He had six tackles last week against San Diego and picked off Phillip Rivers for 11 yards.

Alvarez plans to watch the game today and say's he's "absolutely" rooting for Leonhard and the Jets.

"I'm so proud of him," Alvarez says. "I was in Florida last week and met a Long Island guy ... a big Jets fan. I told him, if he wants to have fun during the game, he should watch No. 36 and I told him the Jim Leonhard story."

Of all the story lines in the NFL on Championship weekend, few are better.

Monday Locker Room Interviews

January 26, 2010

S Jim Leonhard

On if the loss stings less today…

It doesn’t really feel any better at this point. It’s frustrating still, knowing you were this close. You get this far in the playoffs and you know anything can happen. To be one step short of a Super Bowl, it hurts. It’ll hurt until that game is over. I’ll watch that game and it’ll be frustrating. I’m definitely not throwing a Super Bowl party. We played well. We had a good season. We set the foundation of the team that we want to be. We put that out there to the rest of the league of who the New York Jets are and who they’re going to be from this point forward. We can’t be disappointed in that. You lose that game and you’re obviously not satisfied with what you’ve done this year.

On what he knew about the culture of the Jets before he came here…

I knew a little bit. I learned the history and how the fans seem like they are waiting for disappointment. It’s changing. I think that was the first thing Rex [Ryan] tried to get out there to the fans that this will not be the Same Old Jets. I think we laid that foundation. The fans should have that confidence just like we do now that it’s not the Same Old Jets. We’re moving forward and we’re going to be a contender year-in and year-out. That’s our goal. Hopefully, the fans realize that because the players in this organization realize that things are changing.

On what it will take for the team to take the next step to the Super Bowl…

Obviously, we need to get better. There are great teams and Indianapolis is one of them. You look at the teams that continuously get to this level and what they’re made of and who they are and you have to learn from them. Now, we have that experience. Maybe this team needed this experience this year in order to take that step. It’s hard to say, but I know the guys in this room and everything they’re made of. We’re hungry and we want to have success. We will do everything we can as a team and individually to take that next step. It’s hard. It’s not something you can point your finger at and say this is what we’re missing. It’s definitely not easy that way, but we’re not afraid to work. No one in this organization is afraid of work and we’re willing to put that in.

Colts under microscope

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sure there are benefits to what the Colts did. They’ve already won one playoff game, so any rust from a long layoff and a two-game losing streak to end the regular season appears to have worn off. And according to Jets coach Rex Ryan, Indy’s defense is playing faster than it has all year, a testament, he believes, to fresh legs.

But there is a downside, too. Players live to compete and management took that away.

"As a competitor you probably would want to go for the perfect season," Jets safety Jim Leonhard said. "But this is a business and there’s a lot to it. It’s all about the Super Bowl. You can’t lose sight of that. A lot of work goes in strictly for that Super Bowl. A perfect record is great and all, but if don’t get that, what did you do it for? If you can get both, obviously, that’s ideal.

"But looking at some of the injuries that came up this year, I’m surprised it’s still as big a topic as it is. You see a [Patriots receiver] Wes Welker go down, you see [Arizona receiver Anquan] Boldin go down, you can’t get those guys back. Those are huge injuries that affect the postseason. You can’t get those guys back."

Leonhard has a point, but nothing can change the fact that football is a violent game. Injuries that happen in Week 16 or 17 can just as easily occur in Week 1 or the first round of the playoffs. Trading security for inactivity has its price. The Colts robbed themselves of the chance to build a train of momentum like the one the Jets are currently on.

If success breeds success, the Jets are a very dangerous underdog, one the Colts helped create.

Jets' Leonhard shines at right time

By Justin Rodriguez
Times Herald-Record
Posted: January 23, 2010 - 2:00 AM

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Just make plays.

Not Superman plays, Jets safety Jim Leonhard said, not ridiculous plays, just the ones you are supposed to.

That will get you noticed, said Leonhard, the quarterback of the top defense in the NFL.

He's the player the 10 other guys on that side of the ball call the smartest guy on the field, always studying film, playbooks, breaking down the opponent — the player who will likely play a big part if the Jets stop Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship on Sunday.

The thing is, Jim Leonhard wasn't ever supposed to be here, in this big spot.

"I would have been happy to just watch Jimmy play on Saturdays (in college)," said Darrell Gago, his coach at Flambeau (Wisc.) High School. "I understand that he was a longshot, but Jimmy just has a knack for shining at the right time. If there is an opportunity, he will take it. That's just Jimmy."

The 5-foot-8 Leonhard is coming off perhaps his best game of the season against San Diego in the AFC Divisional playoffs on Sunday. His interception of Philip Rivers late in the third quarter set up a touchdown that gave the Jets the lead for good.

And, with Leonhard calling the plays on defense, Gang Green frustrated and baffled Rivers, like they hope to do to Manning at Lucas Oil Stadium. He's become known for his toughness, his helmet often popping off on impact plays. Leonhard, playing with a broken right thumb, also absorbed an accidental kick to the back of the head against San Diego.

"Jim, being on this team is great," Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas said. "First of all, the guy knows the defense. He's studying all the time and he's always in the right position because of that. Jim is just intense, always running around, high-fiving, shoving people, pushing people. That's the type of guy we need for motivation."

Added Jets cornerback Lito Sheppard: "We knew what we were getting when we brought him in (from Baltimore) and Jim hasn't disappointed anyone. He's just so intense."

Still, entering his senior year at Flambeau High, Leonhard had no offers from NCAA Division I schools, just interest from Division II Minnesota-Duluth in football and baseball. Gago brought him to a University of Wisconsin summer camp that summer and Leonhard ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash.

"One of (then Wisconsin coach) Barry Alvarez's coaches walked over and showed him Jimmy's time," Gago said. Alvarez didn't believe him.

Leonhard ran the 40 again for Alvarez, this time in 4.3. He intercepted six passes, returning them all for touchdowns, during a scrimmage at the camp. Alvarez offered Leonhard preferred walk-on status.

Leonhard was a starter by his sophomore year, leading the nation with 11 interceptions. Still, he didn't earn a full scholarship until his senior year.

"I've never questioned my ability, but you never knew what was going to happen," Leonhard said. "You're just trying to have a successful college career. Once you start having success, you start looking ahead (to the NFL). Just try to get on the field and make an impact."

Leonhard signed with Buffalo out of Wisconsin in 2005 as an undrafted free agent. He played in 38 games, including seven starts, in three years. Leonhard, who, because of his boyish looks, is often referred to as the water boy or paperboy, signed with Baltimore after Buffalo released him before last season.

Leonhard started 13 games for Baltimore, which reached the AFC Championship last year, after starter Dawan Landry suffered a neck injury. He followed Rex Ryan to the Jets, turning down Denver's better offer, agreeing to a three-year, $6 million contract.

So Leonhard, who barely got a shot to play college football, gets another chance at playing in the Super Bowl.

He just hopes to keep making plays.

"That's how you gain accountability from the coaching staff," Leonhard said. "You go out there every day and do what you're supposed to do. Do it over and over, and the coaches notice. That's all they are looking for. Make the right plays."


Jets envision themselves being super

Last Updated: 5:11 PM, January 22, 2010
Posted: 3:09 AM, January 22, 2010

The Super dreams have begun in earnest for the Jets, just 48 hours from Sunday, just 60 minutes from the Super Bowl. They can't help themselves now. With each passing hour, the dream becomes clearer and clearer. Some of them were Joe Montana as little boys. Some of them were Jerry Rice. And so on and so forth. Now it's their turn, and their time. Only Peyton Manning and the Colts can shatter their Super dream now.

"I've won a lot of Super Bowls already in the backyard," Jim Leonhard said, and smiled, and it was as if he were back in tiny Tony, Wis. "If I had one thing to go back and do again, I would have won a few AFC Championship games, so I knew what that felt like."

Leonhard and Rex Ryan, the Jets' rookie head coach, lost to the Steelers in last year's AFC Championship game, while both were with the Ravens. It hasn't stopped the diminutive safety from visualizing playing in Super Bowl XLIV in Miami. "I see a lot of big plays," Leonhard said, and smiled again.

Do you intercept any particular quarterback in the Super Bowl?

"It doesn't matter -- that's a blur," Leonhard said. "That other team never really shows up. It's always you. There's not a whole lot of color, there's not a whole lot of purple or gold in there, but I do know that I've played pretty well in all my Super Bowl experiences."

So you make a pick and take it to the house?

"That's one thing I've seen," Leonhard said.




Jets safety Jim Leonhard is tackled by Chargers center Nick Hardwick, left, and running back LaDainian Tomlinson after an interception. New York intercepted San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers twice in the 17-14 win.

thanks Aunt Patty!

1st Take Interview from 1.20.10

This is NOT what a wife wants to see... TAKE 2

This makes it look even crazier!

Leonhard May Lose His Helmet, but Not His Head

Published: January 20, 2010

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets safety Jim Leonhard has a bright pink shiner under his left eye to match the bright pink smudge on the right thumb that he broke earlier this season. He also got kicked in the back of the head last Sunday when his helmet popped off as he pounced on a loose ball.

Leonhard said Wednesday that he did not know who hit him in the face. He does know from watching film that linebacker Bart Scott, his longtime teammate, kicked him in the back of the head.

“Friendly fire,” Leonhard, smiling, said of the kick.

“The good part about that was that he made it out alive,” cornerback Lito Shepherd said.

Leonhard also lost his helmet after he made a tide-turning interception that led to the go-ahead touchdown in the 17-14 upset of the San Diego Chargers. He publicly promised his wife, Katie, that his helmet will be tighter for the American Football Conference championship game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

But he is not promising he will back off from playing hard. This may be the Jets’ first A.F.C. title game since the 1998 season, but it is the second in a row for Leonhard, Scott and Coach Rex Ryan, who were with the Ravens when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“We both had a pretty good idea we were going to follow Rex wherever he went,” Leonhard said.

Scott and Leonhard, who turned down more money from the Denver Broncos, anchored a Jets defense that finished No. 1 in the N.F.L. in yards allowed per game. Leonhard broke his thumb Nov. 15 against Jacksonville but did not miss a game.

Ryan still pokes fun at Leonhard, 27, who might stand 5 feet 8 inches after his feet are taped for practice. A day after the victory over San Diego, Ryan said, “If you never saw him play, you would have been like, ‘The J.V. team is over there.’ ”

Ryan smiled, then said, “I think everybody knows the kind of player he is now.”

Leonhard is a tough player, but above all, he has been a calming influence during a turbulent season. The Jets lost nose tackle Kris Jenkins to a season-ending knee injury midway through the season, and the other safety, Kerry Rhodes, was benched for three games because he played poorly.

Leonhard probably had his best game of the season against the Chargers, even though the play in which he was kicked twice did not result in a turnover. Much to Ryan’s displeasure, the pass to the Chargers’ Malcolm Floyd was ruled an incompletion, not a completion and a fumble.

“Not to discredit anybody else, but Jim has been our single most important addition, just because of his knowledge of the game,” linebacker Calvin Pace said. “If you have a guy playing safety who has brains, who knows the system, it’s like having Rex Ryan on the field with you.”

The Jets’ defense, with Leonhard calling the signals, threw so many different looks at Philip Rivers that they could tell he and the Chargers were getting confused. Leonhard’s interception was probably the turning point of the game.

As they watched film of the San Diego game, the Jets said they got a bigger kick out of the play in which Leonhard was kicked in the head. Eric Smith, the third safety, already knew Leonhard was tough, but the play seemed to underscore that. He inspired them.

“That’s the stuff of legends right now,” Rhodes said.

Smith said, “Most people would have backed out of the way.”

Scott said that a lot of Ravens wanted to join Ryan in New York, but he and Leonhard had the chance because they were free agents. They did not come as a package deal, but they talked a lot, and neither was surprised that the other ended up with the Jets.

Like the Jets this year, the Ravens advanced to the A.F.C. championship game last year with a rookie coach, John Harbaugh, and a rookie quarterback, Joe Flacco. But Scott thought Ryan, the defensive coordinator, should have been gotten the job instead of Harbaugh.

“One thing that helped us get over that was that Rex got what he deserved,” Scott said.

As everyone knows by now, the Jets play a ruthless, marauding style of defense that does not change much from game to game and is, as Scott said, the antithesis of a bend-don’t-break defense. The defense plays for Ryan and his assistant coaches.

Leonhard says his thumb does not hurt any more. His head feels fine. Shaun Ellis, the defensive end, broke his left hand against San Diego and did not practice Wednesday, but Leonhard said Ellis and the Jets’ training staff would figure out a way to tape him up Sunday.

Asked what it would be like to face Peyton Manning with a berth in the Super Bowl at stake, Leonhard said: “It’s not supposed to be easy. You don’t want it to be easy.”

The shiner, his thumb and the bump on the back of his head are signs that he has not taken any shortcuts to get here.

Leonhard 1 Game From Super Bowl, Again

Former Badger Used To Playing In Big Games
Updated: 10:49 am CST January 19, 2010

MADISON, Wis. -- The season is over for the Wisconsin Badgers football team, but there is still one Badger you can continue to cheer on this season. On Sunday, New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard will play in his second consecutive AFC Championship game.

Last year, Leonhard and his old team, the Baltimore Ravens, lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers then went on to beat Arizona in the Super Bowl.

This season, Leonhard followed coach Rex Ryan to the Big Apple and he once again is part of a top-tier defense that is one game away from the Super Bowl.

The Jets this season (9-7) squeaked their way into the post season and many thought it would be a short visit in the playoffs, but just like Leonhard, who is listed as 5 feet 8 inches and 186 pounds, the Jets have defied all odds.

"The biggest thing was we never lost confidence in ourselves," Leonhard said. "Coaches, players, (the) organization as a whole, we felt like we had the team that could do this. There weren't a lot of people outside the building at times that was really supporting us. We never lost confidence in ourselves and that's allowed us to be where we are right now."

Leonhard and the Jets have their work cut out for them. Their No. 1-ranked defense will go up against MVP Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

On The Road To Indianapolis: Jets Meet and Greet

Before they take the field Sunday, three key members of Gang Green are coming to New Rochelle. And they’re expecting you to be there as well. This Thursday, January 21, Steiner Sports is hosting a cocktail reception and Q&A session with Dustin Keller, Jim Leonhard, and Jay Feely, giving you the opportunity to get last-minute insight into Sunday’s game. Do not miss your chance to pick the minds of your favorite Jet just three days before Sunday’s titanic clash. For further information or to reserve your package now, please contact a Steiner Sports sales representative at 1.800.759.SCORE. *Each attendee will receive a triple signed seatback from the three Jets players attending the event

For more information visit Steiner Sports.

at Chargers Game Photos

Jim Leonhard Playoffs nj.org

Jim Leonhard Post Game Interview after win against the Chargers

Team Rubicon: Relief efforts in Haiti

If any of my fans are looking for a way to help the relief efforts in Haiti, two former teammates of mine (a Marine and an EMT) are in Haiti providing their skills as well as supplies. For more information, go to their blog, TEAM RUBICON.

Giveaway: Jim Leonhard Game Worn Cleats and Gloves

To celebrate our now more than 1,000 facebook fans on Jim's facebook fan page as well as a trip to the AFC Championships, we're giving away a pair of Jim's cleats and gloves from his first regular season game as a jet! Just send us an email at giveaway@jkleonhard.com explaining your all-time favorite Jim Leonhard play. It could be from his high school days at Flambeau, his time as a Wisconsin Badger or his pro career. We'll pick our favorite email and the winner of the cleats and gloves will be notified by email.

This is NOT what a wife wants to see...

Jim Leonhard Lays It All on the Line for Jets
by Michael Hurley on Jan 18, 2010 8:19:00 AM

Jim Leonhard It takes a certain kind of player to make it as a safety in the NFL. It's not that you have to have a screw loose, but you have to play with reckless abandon.

Jim Leonhard shows you Exhibit A.

Head coach Rex Ryan took Leonhard from Baltimore when he went to the Jets, and it paid off on Sunday. Leonhard put a mean hit on Malcolm Floyd, knocking the ball loose. Leonhard lost his helmet on the hit, but that didn't stop him from diving for the loose ball.

Then the play was reviewed and the call was reversed.

So the Jets didn't get the ball, but they eventually got the win. And we all now know how tough/crazy Mr. Leonhard can be.