Former NFL safety Jim Leonhard to coach Wisconsin secondary

Former NFL and Wisconsin safety Jim Leonhard will be the Badgers’ new secondary coach.
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Former NFL and Wisconsin safety Jim Leonhard will be the Badgers’ new secondary coach, the school announced.

Leonhard, 33 and a former walk-on at Wisconsin, retired following the 2014 season with the Cleveland Browns and begins his coaching career leading the defensive backs for head coach Paul Chryst.

“I'm very appreciative to have Jim join our coaching staff," Chryst said in a statement. "I'm excited for our players and coaches to be able to work with him and learn from him. What makes Jim special is his desire to teach, to help young men grow and to develop them to reach their full potential. He has a tremendous love and appreciation for the University of Wisconsin and our football program.”

Leonhard spent time with the Bills, Ravens, Jets, Broncos, Saints and Browns after going undrafted in 2005. He was a three-time first-team All-American at Wisconsin and is tied for the school record with 21 interceptions, fourth-most in Big Ten history. He returns to his alma mater after taking a year away from football.

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“I knew mentally I needed a year to take a break," Leonhard told the school’s website. “It was nice to get the perspective back a little bit. Being in the NFL for 10 years, obviously things change, kids change. To have a year to be around it a little bit, I was able to do some film study with Coach (Dave) Aranda last year.

"It was just to get my mind back on the college game. I love it. There's nothing like college football. And I'm excited for this opportunity to teach the game, not only on the field but off the field, as well. I feel my mindset and the way I approached things was what allowed me to be successful.”