NFL Alum Brian Leonard’s Success Should Inspire Young 2021 Draftees

Every NFL Draft brings uncertainty to young players who have excelled in high school and later in college.  They are told by scouts, friends, and media members where they are expected to be selected. The truth is no one really knows.

Fourteen years ago,  running back Brian Leonard was anxious to learn when—or even if– his name would be called during the 2007 NFL Draft.

Leonard had excelled for three seasons at Rutgers.  He finished on the school’s all-time list of leaders in rushing yards, rushing TDs, and receptions.  He even had been mentioned in Heisman Trophy conversations.  Yet,  as the Draft approached, he and his family experienced doubt over the value NFL teams would place on his college success and professional potential.

The Rams did not make Leonard wait long.  They drafted him in the second round and his eight-year NFL journey was underway. He started a career-high seven games in his rookie season. He gained a total of 486 yards of real estate in 2007, which turned out to be a career-high.

Leonard evolved into a solid NFL fullback and runner-receiver for the Rams, Bengals, and  Buccaneers.  He retired in 2014 after spending just a week on the Saints roster that year.

Leonard has stayed as busy in NFL retirement as he did during his playing days.

The Brian Leonard Youth Football Camp has been a week-long event each summer for nearly  10 years prior to the pandemic.  It is held in Potsdam, New York near where Leonard was born and accepts young campers with all types of playing experience.

He also co-founded the Red Knight Properties real estate firm in New Jersey where he now lives with his young family in Morristown.

“I was interested in real estate,” Leonard said in a recent NFF  interview. “However,  coming from a football background,  it definitely was an overwhelming process since I had minimal knowledge in the real estate field.  After I retired from the league, I basically went back to being a student.   I read a ton of real estate books to educate myself as much as possible and connected with successful people in the industry to see which specific end of the business I should work on.    I decided to focus on multifamily real estate and have since grown my company with my business partner to owning and operating over 400 units in less than two years.   It definitely has its challenges but it’s also been real rewarding to see how hard work and determination has aided in our success.”

We at NFL Alumni applaud 2007 NFL draftee Brian Leonard.  We hope that all the young players who are selected this weekend enjoy the playing career and post-NFL success that Leonard has.

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