Jets hire Leon Washington, former running back and kick returner, as special teams assistant

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Garrett Stepien
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Leon Washington Detroit Lions coach
Leon Washington Detroit Lions coach

Jets head coach Robert Saleh hired former Gang Green running back and kick returner Leon Washington as a special teams assistant Wednesday, the team announced.

The 38-year-old Washington was a first-team All-Pro selection and Pro Bowl pick as a third-year pro with the Jets in 2008 after turning 123 touches (76 rushes, 47 receptions) into 803 yards from scrimmage (448 rushing, 355 receiving) and eight total touchdowns (six rushing, two receiving) in 16 games (one start).

Washington also attempted 48 returns (29 punts, 48 kickoffs) for 2,332 yards (303 punts, 1,231 kickoffs) and one kickoff-return touchdown.

Overall, as a four-year member of the Jets from 2006-09, Washington scored four kickoff-return touchdowns. In 55 games (13 starts), Washington totaled 493 touches (370 rushes, 123 receptions) for 2,751 yards from scrimmage (1,782 rushing, 969 receiving) and 15 touchdowns (13 rushing, two receiving).

Washington then played for the Seattle Seahawks (2010-12), New England Patriots (2013) and Tennessee Titans (2013-14).

A transition to coaching came in a Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship with the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars. Washington was hired March 11, 2019, by the Detroit Lions as a WCF minority coaching assistantship for offense and special teams coach from 2019-20.