Q&A with Former Rutgers RB/FB Brian Leonard

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Former Rutgers star back Brian Leonard took in the action last night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center with new coach Kyle Flood courtside. ScarletReport.com caught up with the Cincinnati Bengals running back at halftime to talk the NFL and Flood taking over for Greg Schiano.

Question: What's life like in the NFL?

Answer: "Not as good as college. Obviously the team-camaraderie you have in college is awesome. Obviously you don't have that as much in the pros. I miss college, but it's the level you dream of playing at and I'm enjoying it.''

Q: You went through an injury-free season, relatively speaking?

A: "I dinged my knee a little bit, missed two games. But it was nothing serious, no surgery, so I came out the year healthy -- finally.''

Q: What was that like to finally play injury-free after being plagued by some injuries early in your NFL career?

A: "It was good. Definitely refreshing. In college I went through basically my entire career without an injury. Missed one game my entire (college) career, but in the NFL I basically had a surgery at the end of every season. This season I came out healthy, I feel great and hopefully I have a lot of years left in me.''

Q: Initial reaction when you heard about Coach Schiano to the Tampa Bay Bucs?

A: "Kind of shocked by I think it's a goal for everyone to be at the highest level you can be no matter what sport you're in. He had an opportunity to go and he made a decision that was best for him and his family. And that was in Tampa, and we have a couple Rutgers guys down there so he's not too far away from home.''

Q: What do you think of the job Coach Flood is going to do taking over the football program?

A: "I think he's going to be amazing. He's a personable guy. The players love him. He has respect, too. I think that's important, and he's a good motivator too. He has that skill, and I think he's going to be awesome here. Obviously you've seen how he kept the recruits that he had. That's a tribute to Coach Flood, because he called up the recruits that night and told them this program is going to keep going up from here. It has a lot to do with the foundation too. Rutgers definitely has a foundation now, whereas in the past, if we had one good year and Coach Schiano left, I think there's a chance the program could go back down to where it was. But now he's built that foundation I think it's only going to go up from here.

Q: Being a New York guy, do you like bringing in a coach from New York for recruiting purposes?

A: "When I heard that Coach Schiano was leaving I was hoping that (the new coach) would be someone with some New Jersey/New York/Tri-state area ties. Obviously Coach Flood has that, and obviously he's going to recruit the heck out of this area. ... If you would've brought in a new coach from a different program who had no idea of what we have here, and the family feel we have here, then it would be different. But with Coach Flood coming in, he knows what we built here -- he's been here for seven years -- I think it's important.''

Q: What's it like coming back now and having 20 Rutgers guys in the NFL to work out with here?

A: "It's awesome. That's what Coach Schiano said he wanted to build when he got here, like it was in Miami when 15 or 20 (NFL) guys would come back and work out. I think we have 20-something active guys from Rutgers now and that's awesome. It says a lot for where this program was, where it is now, and where it's going to go from here.''

Q: Heard on the radio you're doing your charity bowling tournament once again? What's that going to be like?

A: "It's going to be Tuesday, March 13th. It's going to a New Brunswick-based charity called Embrace Kids, which is basically to support families with kids with blood disorders from cancer. It's been a hit. Every year we've sold it out -- I think we have five lanes left -- and it's a blast. There's 25 NFL guys there, guys from all over the league, and a bunch of Rutgers guys and a couple Bengals guys will be there. It's a lot of fun, the fans enjoy it and hopefully we sell it out again this year.''

Q: What's next for you in the NFL?

A: "One more year in Cincinnati, and then who knows from there. Obviously you never know what's going to happen in the league. Look what happened to Tiquan Underwood -- cut the day before the Super Bowl. It's insane. From here, for me, you never know. I'm getting up there in age, 28, and obviously running back is a hard position. But good thing I'm not an every-down back; I'm a third-down back and I think they go a little longer in the league.''

Scarlet Report Top Stories