Leon Washington during the 2008 NFL season.
|No. -- New England Patriots|
|Running back / Return specialist|
|Date of birth:August 29, 1982|
|Place of birth: Jacksonville, Florida|
|High School: Jacksonville (FL) Jackson|
|Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)||Weight: 203 lb (92 kg)|
|College: Florida State|
|NFL Draft: 2006 / Round: 4 / Pick: 117|
|Debuted in 2006 for the New York Jets|
|* New York Jets ( 2006– 2009)|
|Roster status: Active|
|Career highlights and awards|
|* 2× Pro Bowl (2008, 2012)|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2012|
|Kick return yards||6,315|
|Stats at NFL.com|
Leon Washington (born August 29, 1982) is an American football running back and return specialist for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Florida State University. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Seattle Seahawks.
New York Jets
Washington was selected in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. The pick used was obtained by the Jets from the Kansas City Chiefs, as compensation for the release of former Jets head coach Herman Edwards.
Washington gained some attention in his second preseason game, returning a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins. Nonetheless, he did not immediately get many carries in the first few weeks of the regular season. However, as the Jets running game struggled in the first few weeks, his role in the offense increased. He first showcased his ability on a 47-yard reception Week 3 in Buffalo. Two weeks later in Jacksonville, he recorded his first 100-yard rushing game, running for 101 yards in a Jets 41–0 loss.
His breakout performance came on October 22 at home against Detroit in a game in which Leon ran for 129 yards for two touchdowns and led the Jets' to a 31–24 win. In a game in Miami on Christmas night, Washington had 108 receiving yards including a 64-yard reception to set up the game winning field goal in a 13–10 win. He helped the Jets clinch the fifth playoff spot in the AFC on New Years Eve, 2006 with a touchdown run that put that helped to seal a win against the Oakland Raiders in the final game of the 2006 regular season. He finished the regular season with 650 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 151 attempts. He averaged 4.3 yards-per-carry. In an AFC East game, he returned a kick 92-yards for a touchdown against the New England Patriots in 2008. Washington gained 2,317 all purpose yards in 2008, more than any other running back in the NFL.
Washington was selected as AFC Special teams Player of the Week for Week 11 of the 2008 season, the first such award in his career. His 92-yard touchdown was the fourth kick return touchdown of his career, surpassing Justin Miller for the club record. He led the league in all-purpose yards in 2008 with 1606 yards.
Washington was out for the 2009 season with a compound fracture to his fibula that he suffered in Week 7 in a 38-0 shutout win versus the Oakland Raiders. Prior to his season ending injury, Leon Washington had rushed for 331 yards on 72 carries, with a 4.6 yards per carry average. Washington had yet to score in 2009 prior to his injury. The Jets call their wildcat formation "Seminole" due to the fact that Washington lined up at quarterback, and was a Florida State Seminole.
On April 15, 2010 (the NFL free agent deadline), Washington signed his tendered contract with the Jets at one-Year $1.759 million.
On April 24, 2010 Washington was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a fifth-round draft pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He was assigned the number 33 on his new team; 29 went to first-round draft pick Earl Thomas. During the September 26th, 2010 game against the San Diego Chargers, Washington set a Seahawks record with 2 kickoff return touchdowns. He returned the opening kickoff of the 2nd half for a team record 101yds, then in the 4th quarter he ran 99yds for his second kickoff TD of the game. On March 1, 2011 Washington signed a four-year deal worth $12.5 million to stay with the Seattle Seahawks. Due to the signing of wide receiver Percy Harvin, Leon Washington was released by the Seahawks on March 12, 2013.
New England Patriots
- Most career Kickoff Return Touchdowns: 8 (tied with Josh Cribbs)
- Most kickoff return touchdowns in a single game: 2 (2010 vs San Diego Chargers) (tied with 9 others)
NY Jets franchise records
- Most career kickoff return touchdowns (4)
- Most kickoff return touchdowns in a single season: 3 (2007)
- Most All-purpose yards in a single season: 2,337 (2008)
Seahawks franchise records
- Most career kickoff return touchdowns (4)
- Longest kickoff return touchdown: 101 (2010 vs San Diego Chargers)
- Most kickoff return touchdowns in a single game: 2 (2010)
Washington married Charity (née Young) on December 19, 2008. They have two sons, Noel and Nolen.
Football card controversy
Washington's 2006 Bowman "Signs of the Future" card with the Jets caused a great deal of controversy during the third week of November, 2006, in which it appears that he is making an obscene gesture. The card sold on eBay during that time for more than four times its book value. Washington insists his gesture is a popular hand gesture among his friends in his hometown.
- Crouse, Karen (2006-12-26). "Jets Endure Dolphins' Defense and the South Florida Rain". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/26/sports/football/26jets.html. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "Manning, Harrison, Washington selected for AFC weekly honors". KansasCity.com. 2008-11-20. http://www.kansascity.com/491/story/899158.html. Retrieved 2008-11-20.[dead link]
- Dan Graziano (April 24, 2010). "Jets Trade Leon Washington to Seattle". NFL Fanhouse. http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/04/24/jet-trade-leon-washington-to-seattle/. Retrieved April 24, 2010.
- O'Neil, Danny (March 12, 2013). "Seahawks release kick returner Leon Washington". The Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.com/html/seahawks/2020543206_seahawksnotebook13.html. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
- Patriots sign free agent RB Leon Washington
- "Leon Washington rewriting record books". espn.go.com. http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/7661/leon-washington-rewriting-record-books. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
- "New York Jets Franchise Encyclopedia". pro-football-reference.com. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyj/. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Seattle Seahawks Franchise Encyclopedia". pro-football-reference.com. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/sea/. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Jets RB Washington's Trading Card for the 'Birds'". ESPN.com. Associated Press. 2006-11-15. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2662669. Retrieved 2009-09-13.