Jim Leonhard Football Skills Camp - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Jim Leonhard Football Skills Camp

New Orleans Saints safety Jim Leonhard New Orleans Saints safety Jim Leonhard
Jim Leonhard instructs campers Jim Leonhard instructs campers
Seattle Seahawks defensive back Chris Maragos Seattle Seahawks defensive back Chris Maragos

Tony (WQOW)  -- New Orleans Saints safety Jim Leonhard holds his 6th-annual Football Skills Camp at his alma mater, Flambeau High School.

The latest U.S. Census lists 113 citizens in the town of Tony, but that total was nearly doubled Friday at the Jim Leonhard Football Skills Camp.

"It's just time to lock in," says Leonhard, "football season is right around the corner and there is no place that I'd rather be than on this field."

Despite a busy off-season schedule, Leonhard spends some of his free time on the Flambeau High School field, molding the next group of small school stars.

"All the experience here at the camp, it's really cool to learn from guys who have been in the NFL, who coach college ball," says Henry Dean, who traveled nearly four hours from Middleton, "some of the best coaches in Wisconsin here to teach us all they know."

"It's all about bringing in great role models on and off the field for these kids," Leonhard says,  "hopefully if they can pick up one or two things, it'll make them better and give them a better opportunity in life down the line."

And some of those lessons even resonate with fellow counselor Chris Maragos, a former Badgers walk-on who's now playing safety with the Seattle Seahawks.

"Jim's laid a blueprint for me," Maragos says, "so when I look at what he's been able to accomplish, I just try to follow after what he does and just soak up as much knowledge as I can. I think he doesn't even realize it now, but I'm soaking up as much knowledge as I can right now, still to this day."

A nine-year NFL career seemed a long shot for the Leonhard, but at Wisconsin, he went from walk-on to All-American.  In the NFL, he went from being an undrafted free agent to a starter in the playoffs.

"It's been great," Leonhard says, "I never thought I would have been playing for nine years. It's just a blessing every single year to be on an NFL roster."

This season, Leonhard will suit up for his fifth different NFL team -- the New Orleans Saints.

"It seemed like a great opportunity," Leonhard says, "I've been down there for two months for our entire offseason program and things went great. It just got me excited to get down there for training camp and get football rolling. I'm a guy who gets in there, keeps his head low and works hard. Whether it's special teams or defense, I'm going to provide whatever they want. I can't wait to get down to New Orleans and compete."

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