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S Jim Leonhard reunites with Buffalo

Posted Sep 2, 2013

S Jim Leonhard signed with Buffalo on Monday

The Bills roster stood at just 50 players entering Sunday, so some additions needed to be made. A day after being awarded CB Brandon Burton, Buffalo signed S Jim Leonhard - a former undrafted rookie who made the team in 2005- at One Bills Drive on Monday. A veteran safety, Leonhard will add an experienced presence to Buffalo's secondary.

“At any position where you have someone that has a lot of experience and is a veteran can definitely help," said head coach Doug Marrone. "If you have a veteran at a position it’s like having an extra. It’s a benefit. You feel great about it. They’re going to be able to help.”

Leonhard, 30, not only made the Bills roster as a rookie in 2005, but appeared in 10 games as both a safety and part time punt returner. He would appear in 28 more games for Buffalo over the next two seasons including seven starts before he signed with Baltimore as a free agent in 2008.

There, he ran Rex Ryan’s Ravens defense from his safety position and signed a long-term deal as a free agent the following year with the Jets. Much like he did in Baltimore, Leonhard was one of the play callers in Mike Pettine’s defense in New York posting a career-high 76 tackles in 2009.

He ran Pettine’s defense for the next two seasons before serious leg injuries cost him time on the field and ultimately his job. Head coach Doug Marrone believes having familiarity with Pettine's scheme doesn't hurt.

“That’s a bonus and he’s played well," said Marrone. "He’s played well. He was down there in New Orleans and did a nice job.”

Leonhard visited the Bills during their 2012 training camp last summer before ultimately signing with Denver where he played in all 16 games, but had just one start. The veteran safety was most recently in New Orleans camp, but was just released during final cuts.

In terms of how quickly Leonhard will be able to step in and contribute is a wait and see proposition for Marrone.

“He’s been in the system before, but I’ll wait to see him out here and see how he reacts to it because the system has changed,” said Marrone.

With the addition of Leonhard, the Bills now have six safeties on the roster.