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Jim Leonhard having surgery tomorrow, hopes to remain a Jet

Jim Leonhard of the New York Jets grimaces

Jim Leonhard of the New York Jets grimaces after suffering an injury in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Dec. 11, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Jim Leonhard can't believe his season was cut short again, leaving him unavailable for the Jets' playoff push for the second straight year.

"It’s obviously frustrating," the safety said on WFAN's "Joe & Evan Show" today. "It's not the way you envision your season ending, but it's the risk you take when you play this game and it is frustrating, especially the second year in a row.

"Really have no reasons why. The last two years honestly, out of my seven in the NFL, I’ve felt as good as I had going into December, and then have two fluky things happen like this and end the season short is frustrating."

Leonhard tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in Sunday's 37-10 win over the Chiefs, and was placed on injured reserve Monday. He said he's scheduled to have surgery tomorrow morning.

Leonhard got hurt in the second quarter almost immediately after picking off Tyler Palko at the Chiefs' 38-yard line, and knew something was wrong as Chiefs Steve Breaston was grasping onto him while both were on the ground.

"I got the interception, I think it was when I went to push off," Leonhard said. "When I talked to the docs, I said, 'I think he hit me directly on the knee.' I had never had a knee injury really before, so I think he hit me on the knee. And then he [the doctor] kind of gave me a goofy look.

"Once I saw the repay, he didn’t touch my knee. So obviously, it went before he even ended up grabbing my ankle. I just tried to hop out of it, and once I tried to do something with that leg, I realized nothing was happening. So I decided to go down and get the docs out there."

Being in the final season of a three-year, $5.8-million deal, the 29-year-old admitted he thought about the possibility he's played his last game as a Jet, considering he's had season-ending injuries in consecutive seasons.

"Absolutely," said Leonhard, whose wife Katie is expecting their first child, a boy, within the next two weeks. "I think that's kind of where you're mind goes right away. What is next? I don’t have a contract for next year and coming off back to back injuries like this, obviously, you are going to get that tag.

"I’ve loved my experience here. Whatever happens, I’m going to be back. I’m going to rehab this thing as hard as I can. One thing I can say is I’ve always come back from things like this stronger and we’ll see what happens."

The injury came exactly a year and a week after Leonhard suffered a season-ending broken right tibia in practice three days before a 45-3 loss to the Patriots.

"It’s close," he said. "It's eerily similar. It's one of those things, you think about what you could have done differently, and I don't really know. I felt great all season, definitely 100 percent back from that injury. I hadn't had any issues, I hadn't missed any practice time, really hadn't gotten any treatment all year because I had felt good. And it’s just one of those things that it's hard to say why, but it happened."

There is a part of him that feels slightly better since it happened in a game this time.

"It definitely does," Leonhard said. "You’re a competitor. So If you are going to go down, you’d like it to be during a competition. It's frustrating. We were having such a great game. I was having a lot of action early in that game and just felt like it was going to be one of those days. And to have it happen, especially on an interception -- those have been hard to come by here for me recently.

"But to get that interception, it felt great, and then you obviously can’t celebrate it though when something like that happens."

Leonhard would like to celebrate a few more interceptions in a Jets' uniform, though.

"I hope so, I hope so," he said. "I’ve loved my time here and in my opinion, you can’t beat this staff. So I’d love to be here again and we’ll see how it all plays out."

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