Leonard Has Another CFL Shot

Former Arkansas State quarterback Corey Leonard has earned another shot at pro football. The Jonesboro resident was offered a contract last week with the Canadian Football League's Ottawa RedBlacks after impressing the team's coaches at a mini-camp that he was invited to in Virginia.

As Leonard explained today on AstAteNation Radio, the opportunity was born of his previous CFL experience in British Columbia.

"About three or four weeks ago I got a phone call from a coach that had me in BC, who had moved over to Ottowa. I thought he was calling me to ask me about some of the guys I've been training, but he told me they were looking for a quarterback with my skill set and who had a little bit of experience with the CFL game. They wanted to bring me out to their training camp in Virginia...so I went out there and had a great camp and was offered a contract after the second day."

Leonard finished up his AState career in 2008, and eventually earned an opportunity with the CFL's BC Lions. He served as a back-up QB for the squad before being released in 2012. Since then he has lived with his family in Jonesboro, working primarily as an athletic trainer in the sports medicine division of St. Bernard's Healthcare.

"It's been a full two years since I was a part of it. I used to joke and tell people I was very much retired, but it's not until you get back out there and you see the guys that those competitive instincts come out, and all of a sudden you realize 'maybe I'm not as old as I thought I was."

In recent months, Leonard has been training a handful of former AState players hoping to land in the pros, and he said the timing could not have been better for him. "It lucked out because I've had Alan Muse, Julian Jones, and R.J. (Fleming), and I was working with (Adam) Kennedy and the quarterback from Southern Arkansas, so I had been throwing and working out with those guys, so it just so happened the timing was perfect. I was literally throwing more in the last month than I had in the past year-and-a-half."

The Covington, LA native also indicated that his former ASU understudy and two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Ryan Aplin may soon be joining him north of the border. "I don't want to put any of Ryan's information out there, but I will say this...there is a very, very high likelihood that ASU will have two alumni in the CFL at that position this upcoming season."

Leonard said he'll report to Ottawa's quarterback mini-camp in late May. The RedBlacks will open the season on June 14 against Saskatchewan.


Randy Myers is the co-host of AstAteNation Radio. The program airs Monday-Friday from 11-1 on The Ticket 970am/95.3fm and on the web at 953theticket.com.