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Why Wisconsin Football Legend Jim Leonhard Is an OG



Wisconsin Football; Badgers legend Jim Leonhard
Nov 19, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Wisconsin Badgers interim head coach Jim Leonhard reacts to a play during the fourth quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Leonhard, the former all-American safety, defensive coordinator, and interim head coach for the University of Wisconsin football team, is pulling off a savvy move that only an OG of his caliber could finesse.

After Leonhard got passed over for the head coaching job by Badgers Athletic Director Chris McIntosh in favor of Luke Fickell — university officials reportedly agreed to a cool $1 million separation agreement.

That’s a nice chunk of change for a guy who needed an off-season hip surgery and has a wife and children at home to consider while plotting his next move.

It looked like Leonhard was headed toward a gap year until Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema found a way to employ him in a Senior Analyst role, creating a short-term win-win scenario.

Wisconsin Legend Jim Leonhard Is an OG

Bret Bielema, having an obvious connection to Jim Leonhard from their time overlapping at the Wisconsin football program — knew he could find a way to utilize one of the game’s brightest defensive minds.

During Big Ten Media Day, Mr. Karma spilled the beans, sharing that Leonhard’s typical workweek will consist of working in the office Sunday-Thursday, leaving him precious time to return home and be with his family in the Madison area.

In this new role — Leonhard will pocket $112,500 this year, according to a report from Todd Milewski of BadgerExtra.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The analyst gig doesn’t permit Leonhard to be an on-field coach or engage in recruiting activities. But with a million-dollar payout from the Wisconsin football program looming as part of a separation agreement, Leonhard had to play the game like an OG.

Ole Jimmy Leonhard had it in his agreement that he would receive the entire sum of the $1 million agreement from the University of Wisconsin unless he accepted a job as a head coach or defensive coordinator role with an NFL or Football Bowl Subdivision team.

So, what that means is the former three-time first-team All-American, three-time All-Big Ten first-team selection, and two-time Wisconsin football team captain will be collecting two paychecks this season to sit back and watch game film.

Jim Leonhard & his unconventional gap year is truly one for the books — even the boys in the “waste management” business have to tip their cap.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.