Jim Leonhard is returning to the team for which he once played — this time with a headset.
A little pregame non-Super Bowl news: Sources tell me and @JFowlerESPN that Jim Leonhard is expected to join the Denver Broncos' staff to coach the secondary. Leonhard is a former NFL DB who's well regarded in coaching circles and has been talking to several NFL and college teams— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 11, 2024
A former undrafted free agent safety, Leonhard played a decade in the NFL, including the 2012 campaign with the Broncos, before transitioning to the coaching ranks. He rejoined his alma mater, Wisconsin, as defensive backs coach in 2016, and the following year was promoted to defensive coordinator — a title he held for six years.
"After that first season calling the defense, Leonhard was nominated for the Broyles Award as the Badger defense ranked 3rd nationally in scoring defense," FootballScoop noted.
Leonhard, 41, was the Badgers' interim head coach for seven games in 2022 before spending last season as a senior football analyst at the University of Illinois.
Leonhard inherits a talented group in Denver featuring Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain II and All-Pro safety Justin Simmons and, under DC Vance Joseph, will look to improve a defense that ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed in 2023.
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