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Veteran safety Jim Leonhard signs with Browns, reunites with coach Mike Pettine

By Nate Ulrich Published: July 30, 2014

[leonhard.jpg]

Updated 7:58 p.m.

Veteran safety Jim Leonhard will reunite with Browns coach Mike Pettine again.

Leonhard used Twitter to announce he signed with the Browns on Wednesday.

"It's official," Leonhard tweeted. "I just signed my 8th NFL contract to become a part of the Cleveland Browns. #dawgpound"

The Browns formally announced the move Wednesday night.

Leonhard, 31, has played at each stop on Pettine's NFL resume. He played for the Baltimore Ravens during Pettine's final season as their outside linebackers coach, the New York Jets in three of Pettine's four seasons as their defensive coordinator and the Buffalo Bills last season when Pettine was their defensive coordinator.

The 5-foot-8, 188-pound Leonhard has started 68 of the 126 regular-season games in which he has appeared in nine NFL seasons. He has started 60 of the 72 regular-season games in which he has appeared for teams that had Pettine aboard. He also has ample experience returning punts and kickoffs.

Last season, Leonhard appeared in all 16 games for the Bills with seven starts. He had 41 tackles, six passes defensed and four interceptions. He has compiled 385 tackles, including 3 1/2 sacks, 33 passes defensed, 12 interceptions and two forced fumbles in his career.

The Browns have two-time Pro Bowler Donte Whitner in place at strong safety and Tashaun Gipson at free safety. Leonhard will likely be relied on to provide depth and contributions on special teams.

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