If you watched the Monday night exhibition against the Giants, the odds are you noticed this long-haired linebacker flying across the field, seemingly in on every play.
That was Jeremy Leman, and he has an interesting story. If you want to hear about him and his issues in camp with playing a little too hard and hustling a little too much, the stories are already popping up among the local beat writers.
But where did he come from? Well, Leman was an All-American linebacker at the University of Illinios who set all kinds of records there. He also had the misfortune of requiring two ankle surgeries, in 2007 and 2008. The second caused him to miss the combine, and he went undrafted largely due to concerns about his lack of quickness and durability.
After signing on with Minnesota during the 2008 UDFA period, he hung around until the end of training camp and was cut. As he's never played in the NFL, he's still considered a rookie.
If Leman is fully recovered, his instinct and intelligence may make him a real find. After you get through the negatives about his lack of speed, slow-footedness, marginal change-of-direction ability, and inadequate strength, somehow you need to account for the fact that he was named All American, All Big Ten, and was a finalist for both the Ronnie Lott and Danny Weurfel awards.
In his senior year at Illinois he led the Illini with 132 tackles (71 solo) that included 2.5 sacks and 10.5 stops for losses. He also caused a fumble, intercepted one pass and batted away three others. That was after a junior campaign where he was third in the nation with 152 tackles (75 solo), 19 tackles for losses, four sacks, five pressures, four passes defensed, and two fumbles caused.
Call him slow, call him weak, but the kid can play football.