Jim Leonhard says he has ‘unfinished business’ at Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard says he has unfinished business at his alma mater and wouldn’t have felt right leaving after a pandemic-shortened season, even for an opportunity as tempting as his home state’s NFL team.

Leonhard was a prime candidate for the Green Bay Packers’ defensive coordinator position and had been offered the job according to multiple reports. but opted to return for a sixth season on Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst‘s staff. The Packers instead hired Joe Barry as defensive coordinator.

“I love Madison,” Leonhard said. “To me, there’s some unfinished business with the University of Wisconsin. I love this group of kids and want to continue to develop them. With COVID being the way it was last year, I’d have felt a specific way about myself having left after that season.”

Leonhard aimed high as he specified the nature of his unfinished business at Wisconsin, which opened spring practice this week.

“I came here wanting to win a national championship, I came here wanting to win the Big Ten as a player,” said Leonhard, who played safety for the Badgers from 2001-04 before starting a 10-year NFL career. “Nothing’s changed as a coach. We haven’t done that since I’ve been back. The goals haven’t changed. I feel like we have a group that can accomplish that.”

Wisconsin struggled to a 4-3 record last year but ranked fifth nationally in total defense and ninth in scoring defense. Wisconsin has finished in the top five in total defense and top 10 in total defense in three of Leonhard’s four seasons as defensive coordinator.

Leonhard acknowledged the Green Bay situation was particularly enticing.

“They’re right on the fringe of a Super Bowl and have been for a while now,” Leonhard said. “Definitely a difficult decision to have to make.”

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey suspended after arrest

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey was suspended from the team after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team said.

The 23-year-old, who was a team captain last season, was booked at about 2:45 a.m. and released after posting $500 bond, according to online records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are aware of the situation involving Chad Bailey,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s been suspended according to Department of Athletics policy. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes, on and off the field, and we will follow all departmental and campus policies.”

Bailey was Mizzou’s third-leading tackler with 57 stops last season. He started all 11 games he played, missing two with an injury. He’ll be a sixth-year senior this fall after opting to return for his final year of eligibility, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Missouri student-athlete handbook says any athlete who is arrested must serve a minimum one-week suspension.

Bailey was pulled over at about 1 a.m. not far from the Columbia campus for an expired license plate and lane violation, a police statement said. Bailey told the officer he had consumed alcohol and then performed poorly on a field sobriety test, the Post-Dispatch reported.