For the second straight year, New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard has suffered a season-ending injury as his team makes a run at the playoffs.
The former All-American at the University of Wisconsin tore the patellar tendon on his right knee when he was tackled after intercepting a pass in the Jets' 37-10 victory over Kansas City on Sunday, New York coach Rex Ryan confirmed Monday.
"You feel absolutely terrible for him," Ryan told reporters, according to http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2011/12/jets_safety_jim_leonhard_lost.html" target="_blank">an article on the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger website. "Knowing how he overcame that last injury ... This team means everything to Jim, and his leadership is going to be missed without question. He's one of the guys that elevates other players around him."
Leonhard was hurt when he intercepted a pass by Tyler Palko intended for Steve Breaston, and the Chiefs wide receiver made a twisting tackle. Leonhard immediately reached for his leg in pain before being helped to the sideline by two trainers and then carted into the locker room.
Leonhard will undergo surgery soon and potentially serve in a player-coach role until he heals.
In 2010, Leonhard broke his right leg in a collision with teammate Patrick Turner during practice in early December and had surgery on Dec. 3. He missed the remainder of the schedule.