Jim Leonhard turns down opportunity to become Packers defensive coordinator

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Zach Kruse
·2 min read
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Jim Leonhard will not be the next defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.

According to Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal, Leonhard has turned down the opportunity from coach Matt LaFleur to be the defensive coordinator of the Packers, choosing instead to stay in the same position at the University of Wisconsin.

Leonhard is a Wisconsin native who starred with the Badgers as a walk-on player and has become a coaching star in the collegiate ranks while coordinating Wisconsin’s annually dominant defense.

LaFleur’s search for a replacement for Mike Pettine eventually landed on Leonhard, the 38-year-old coach who played for Pettine in the NFL and has successfully run a variation of the scheme with the Badgers.

But Leonhard’s ties to Madison were too strong.

According to Oates, Leonhard met with LaFleur and the Packers twice this week but turned down the job offer on Friday, citing his desire to stay at Wisconsin and remain at the college level.

Leonhard has been the defensive coordinator for the Badgers since 2017. He is deeply embedded in the city and the program.

“It was me choosing UW. I want to stay at UW,” Leonhard told Oates.

With Leonhard out of the running, LaFleur and the Packers will need to adjust course in the search for a new defensive coordinator. Rams safeties coach Ejiro Evero and Chargers passing game coordinator Joe Barry were considered to be strong candidates alongside Leonhard.

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