POTSDAM — Gouverneur product Brian Leonard is a member of a very large fraternity.
A brotherhood of National Football League veterans who are excited about the prospects that a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached between the NFL players union and team owners.
"There has been no communication between the players, agents and owners so I really don't know any more than you do," Leonard said Saturday from the Brian Leonard Football Camp, which concludes today at SUNY Potsdam's turf field.
"But an agreement could come at anytime," Leonard added. "The big things are fixed and now it is just a matter of working out the details on paper and getting it signed."
When the new CBA is signed, Leonard will be part of a scramble of NFL free agents looking to sign a contract, get into camp and get ready to play football.
"One out of every four NFL players is a free agent so there are a lot of guys who have to be signed," said Leonard, who hopes to return for a fourth season with the Cincinnati Bengals, for whom he is an established, versatile running back with big-play capabilities and a valuable special teams' performer.
Cincinnati has offered Leonard a one-year deal but the former Rutgers University standout, who was hindered by injuries last season, is looking for a longer contract.
"Right now I am a restricted free agent, but once the new CBA is signed, I become an unrestricted free agent, which allows me to shop around and see if any other teams are interested," Leonard said.
"But I really like living in Cincinnati and I like playing for the Bengals," he added. "They really know how to use a back with my skills."
Leonard spent the offseason keeping his skills sharp and trained hard at Rutgers with four other ex-Scarlet Knights, who are playing in the NFL. They are Jason McCourty and Kevin Mallast of Tennessee, Devin McCourty of New England and Jeremy Zuttah of Tampa Bay.
"I am in the best physical condition that I have been in for the past couple of years, and I am ready to get back to playing football," Leonard said. "It has been a big part of my life since I was a little kid."
"I am in great shape and now I have to be ready to get into camp as fast as I can and get into football shape."
This week, Leonard has been tightly focused on helping players from the youth and high school levels enjoy football. On Saturday afternoon, a clinic was held for youth football coaches and players.
"Things have really gone well at the camp. We have 15-to-20 youth coaches here today and I have seen some young guys who have the size and speed to get to next level," Leonard said. "We have the same number of campers that we had last year and that"s good because we are in a new location, and it is a holiday weekend."
Monsignor Donovan High School coach Dan Dutty of Toms River, N.J,. serves as director of field activities for the camp and said the move to SUNY Potsdam was as smooth as Peyton Manning's passing motion.
"The people here have been great to work with and this year we have worked in a full scale youth football clinic," Dutty said. "We take the youth players out on the field and they go through all the drills with the campers and then we go directly into a classroom setting."
"(Today) is our competition day where we finish up by presenting awards at the youth and high school level," Dutty added. "That is always exciting."
Potsdam Central junior Aaron Deon enjoyed his camp experience, which he said has improved his chances for more playing time this fall.
"I was a reserve left guard as a sophomore last year and we lost a lot of seniors so I have a good chance to start," Deon said.