Cleveland Browns safety Jim Leonhard still plans to retire after Sunday's game vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
Leonhard, 32, signed with the Browns in July after spending 2013 with the Buffalo Bills and 2012 with the Denver Broncos. A former undrafted free agent and walk-on at the University of Wisconsin, Leonhard carved out a 10-year NFL career with the Bills (2005-07, 2013), Baltimore Ravens (2008), New York Jets (2009-11), Broncos and Browns.
He has been widely expected to retire after this season.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for this game, and I don’t want to do it any other way,” Leonhard said to Browns.com. “I know I could continue to play -- the way I’m playing and how I feel … but I’m to that point where I’m ready to move on.”
Leonhard has recorded 40 tackles, one sack, three pass deflections and two interceptions in 15 games (four starts) this season.
A significant contributing factor for Leonhard signing with the Browns this season was the presence of Mike Pettine, Cleveland's head coach whom Leonhard has played under for six of his pro seasons (Ravens, Jets, Bills and Browns)
“I know he keeps saying it, but it will be more than just me. There’ll be a whole line of guys trying to talk him out of it,” Pettine said. “He’s been pretty resolute but I’m sure it’s going to be a situation where he’ll get home, be with his family and go ahead and decompress a little bit and we’ll see how he feels.”
The Browns had playoff hopes earlier in the season after going 6-3 over their first nine games. But after a Week 10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Browns lost five of their next six games, eliminating them from the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season.
- Mike Fiammetta