“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE IT.”
Lott IMPACT Trophy Alumni Spotlight: Jim Leonhard
- Updated: October 6, 2015
After 10 amazing seasons in the NFL with six different teams, Jim Leonhard, a 2004 Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist, is back home in Wisconsin, adjusting to life after football.
“It hasn’t been that bad because I got to leave on my own terms,” he says. “I watch the games, of course, and I see things I think I can still do. I’m staying in shape so if someone were to call, we’d consider the opportunity.”
Leonhard, 32, and his wife, Katie, spend most of their time as he says “chasing the two little ones around (their kids are 3 and 1). We’re also building a house just outside Madison (where he was an All-American safety at Wisconsin). As for figuring out what I want to do, that’s my next step. Just being back in Madison and settling in and seeing what’s out there. I know this is going to be home for me and just wanted to take a little bit of time to decide what the right path is going to be.”
He also dabbles in coaching, helping out at his alma mater. “I watch some of these college games and I can’t believe some of the things I see.”
Is coaching in his future? “I’m not sure I want to jump into that arena, but I’m keeping all my options open now.”
Leonard, who is on the Lott IMPACT Trophy Advisory Board, says he has talked to another former Wisconsin star and Lott Trophy finalist, Chris Borland. Borland, of course, made news earlier this year when he retired from the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers after just one season, citing personal concerns about concussions. “Chris is a great guy, one of my all-time favorite Badgers, and I remind him his decision was what was best for him, not an indictment of the NFL.”
Leonard was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame on Sept. 11 of this year. He also runs the Jim Leonhard Skills Camp each June in his hometown of Tony (population 105). The camp is free for pre-high schoolers.