Former Wisconsin Badgers interim head coach Jim Leonhard is going to the NFL, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, who reported on Sunday that the coach is joining the Denver Broncos staff as their next defensive backs coach.
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
Leonhard, a former NFL defensive back, had been the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin from 2017-22 before taking over for Paul Chryst as the interim head coach.
However, after he was passed up in favor of Luke Fickell as Wisconsin’s next head coach, Leonhard joined the Illinois Fighting Illini as a defensive analyst, forming an arrangement with head coach Bret Bielema.
While Bielema extended the courtesy for Leonhard to return this season, the defensive backs coach was reportedly eying a return to the NFL, and now has his next destination.
As a player, Leonhard spent one season with the Broncos in 2012, and was briefly with the New Orleans Saints in 2013 as a practice player.
He’ll join former Saints head coach Sean Payton, who is the current head coach for the Denver Broncos.