Hamilton Tiger-Cats bring back standout defensive back after western sojourn


Published February 8, 2022 at 7:32 pm

Richard Leonard has come back to the ‘Cats, which means Hamilton will have the defensive-halfback duo that it boasted during a club-record 15-win season in 2019.

The Tiger-Cats announced on Tuesday (Feb. 8) that they have signed Leonard, who was a Canadian Football League all-star in Hamilton in ’19 before moving west to the Calgary Stapmeders. The 30-year-old Miami native played 13 games for Calgary last season, recording 25 defensive tackles, one tackle for loss, three pass knockdowns, one interception and one quarterback sack.

The five-foot-eight, 168-pound Leonard earned East Division all-star recognition twice in his first three CFL seasons with Hamilton from 2017 to ’19. In Hamilton, he will potentially reunite at D-half with fellow Miami native Cariel Brooks, who re-signed with Hamilton last week. Brooks was a CFL all-star last season.

Canadian veteran Tunde Adeleke, who also re-signed last month, started at defensive halfback during the Grey Cup, even though the position is usually filled by Americans. But Adeleke is a safety by trade and has been an East all-star in each of the last two seasons, along with being selected as the Tiger-Cats’ outstanding Canadian player in ’21.

Leonard has played 62 games across his four-season CFL career. All told, he has tallied 203 defensive tackles, one quarterback sack, 13 interceptions, three forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns.

In 2016, Leonard had a look-see from the NFL’s Houston Texans. He played at Florida International, which is in his native Miami, from 2011 to ’15.

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