Leon Washington, the New York Jets’ new special teams assistant, enjoyed a phenomenal NFL kick return career.
The New York Jets have been hitting home runs since they pulled the trigger on Adam Gase following the 2020 regular season.
First, the organization brought in Robert Saleh. Then, Mike LaFleur was announced as the team’s new offensive coordinator. Now, special teams coordinator Brant Boyer will get a helping hand from one of the franchise’s most beloved players.
The Jets announced Wednesday that Leon Washington has been named a special teams assistant.
We've hired Leon Washington as a special teams assistant.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) February 10, 2021
Washington, 38, last played in the league back in 2014 when he suited up for 16 games with the Tennessee Titans. In 2013, he split time between the Titans and the New England Patriots after playing three seasons in Seattle.
Jets fans already know what the Florida State product did in the league from 2006 to 2009.
Washington was named a first-team All-Pro in 2008 courtesy of his league-leading 2,332 all-purpose yards and one kick return touchdown. A year prior, the man took three to the house. (He also returned another three for scores with the Seahawks in 2010.)
Washington’s first kick return score came in his second professional season. The 0-2 Jets needed a victory in the worst way on Sept. 23, 2007, when they welcomed in the Miami Dolphins.
Washington’s scamper broke a 7-7 tie and helped the Jets to a 31-28 win.
Two weeks later, the 1-3 Jets played a road game at The Meadowlands. The New York Giants, a team that would go on to win the Super Bowl this season, knocked off the Jets, 35-24.
Washington’s third-quarter kick return touchdown put Eric Mangini‘s team up 24-14. Obviously, they couldn’t hold the lead.
At 1-8, Mangini’s sophomore campaign turned into a disaster. Injuries struck the squad hard and it simply could not recover. However, Leon Washington continued to shine.
Washington’s opening kickoff return stunned a good Washington Football Team early but the Jets would fall by the final of 23-20 in the end.
The man’s most memorable touchdown as a Jet came in 2008 when the Brett Favre-led Jets headed north to Foxborough to take on the Patriots on Thursday Night Football.
Leading 10-6 in the second quarter, the man of the moment took his fourth career kick return to the house. Despite a worthy comeback attempt, a critical third-down completion to Dustin Keller helped kickstart an overtime drive that led to the Jay Feely game-winner.
The 2009 Jets sorely missed Washington’s services—as he played in just seven games via injury—but Brad Smith picked up where Washington left off. The college quarterback-turned-wide receiver returned one in 2009 and another two in 2010 for Mike Westhoff‘s incredible unit.