New York Jets: Safety Jim Leonhard Out For Remainder Of The Season

Frank FittipaldiCorrespondent IIDecember 4, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 21:  Jim Leonhard #36 of the New York Jets returns a punt against the Houston Texans on November 21, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports is reporting that Jet's safety and punt returner Jim Leonhard will be out for the remainder of the 2010 season with a broken tibia.

Leonhard suffered the injury during practice when he collided with wide receiver Patrick Turner. 

This is a big loss for the Jets because Leonhard has been a leader for their defense and has been their primary punt return man.

Leonhard was not that great in coverage for the Jets this season, but his presence was felt as a leader every time he set foot onto the football field.

The Jets will miss Leonhard moving forward, but the Jets have a solid defense and Leonhard's teammates are going to have to step up and pick up the slack.

Eric Smith will take over at safety for Leonhard for the remainder of the year.

Smith has 42 tackles on the season, but with more playing time on the way his numbers should increase as the Jets are counting on him to step up for the injured Leonhard.

Before getting injured, Leonhard had 61 tackles and two turnovers forced, one interception and one fumble recovery.

As far as the punt return duties, cornerback Antonio Cromartie is expected to handle the punts from Week 13 on. This is not a bad move for the Jets because Cromartie is a playmaker and his speed can make a big impact on special teams.

Cromartie has one punt return in his career for just four yards.

Source: Jay Glazer on Twitter