The New York Jets have signed unrestricted free agent safety Jim Leonhard and re-signed unrestricted free agent fullback Tony Richardson. The announcements were made by Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
Jim Leonhard (5'8", 186), a four-year veteran, joins the Jets after spending one season with the Baltimore Ravens. Signed by the Ravens as an unrestricted free agent in 2008, he played in all 16 games and made 13 starts for a defense that ranked second overall in the NFL. He finished fourth on the team with 85 tackles and added one sack, one interception and six passes defensed. On special teams he averaged 11.6 yards on 20 punt returns and 20.4 yards on eight kickoff returns. Leonhard's 2008 totals represent career highs in starts, tackles and passes defensed.
He also recorded 16 tackles (third on the team) during the Ravens' three postseason games in 2008, while adding a half sack, one interception, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
"I've liked Jim since his days at Wisconsin and was excited when we were able to bring him to Baltimore last season," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "He was everything I expected him to be in 2008 when he bailed us out at safety after we had some injuries.
"He's a smart player that can get guys lined up in the secondary and was one of the best tacklers on that Ravens defense. He's always around the ball, brings everything he has on every play and will be a great addition to our group of defensive backs."
Prior to signing with Baltimore, Leonhard played three seasons for the Buffalo Bills, seeing action in 38 games (seven starts). He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Bills in 2005.
For his career, Leonhard has played in 54 games with 20 starts and recorded 144 tackles, one sack, three interceptions, nine PDs and 19 ST tackles. He also has averaged 10.5 yards on 31 punt returns and 22.6 yards on 11 kickoff returns.
Richardson (6'1", 238), a 14-year NFL veteran, entered the league as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 1994. During his first season with the Jets in 2008, he served as the primary lead blocker for Thomas Jones' career-record 13 rushing touchdowns and helped Jones earn his first Pro Bowl appearance by leading the way for his AFC-best 1,312 rushing yards.
A Pro Bowl selection following the 2003, 2004 and 2007 seasons, Richardson has served as the lead blocker for Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson, Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson, helping each rush for more than 1,200 yards in a combined total of six seasons.
In 14 seasons, Richardson has played in 202 games and earned 113 starts. He has rushed for 1,666 yards and 15 touchdowns on 417 carries and has added 202 receptions for 1,502 yards and nine scores.