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Matt Leinart

Matt Leinart with his Heisman trophy in winter 2005.
No. 7     Arizona Cardinals
Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: May 11, 1983 (1983-05-11) (age 26)
Place of birth: Santa Ana, California
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 232 lb (105 kg)
Career information
College: Southern California
NFL Draft: 2006 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Debuted in 2006 for the Arizona Cardinals
Career history
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2009
Pass attempts     595
Pass completions     340
Percentage     57.1
TD-INT     14-20
Passing yards     3,893
QB Rating     70.8
Stats at NFL.com

Matthew Stephen Leinart (born May 11, 1983 in Santa Ana, California) is an American football quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. He played college football at Southern California, leading them to an AP national championship in 2003, a BCS national championship in 2004, and an appearance in the BCS National Championship game in 2005. Leinart earlier played quarterback in Santa Ana at Mater Dei High School. In 2004, his junior year at USC, he won the Heisman Trophy. He also won the inaugural Manning Award for college quarterbacks in the same season.

Contents

Early years

Leinart was born in Santa Ana, California. He was born with strabismus (“crossed eyed”), as his left eye was not aligned correctly with his right. He underwent surgery when he was three years old and was fitted with special glasses to correct the problem, but the eyewear combined with Leinart's already-overweight frame to make him an easy target for ridicule at the hands of other children.[1] “I used to get made fun of for being cross-eyed. It's just a terrible thing because kids are so cruel to the fat kid, to the kid with the glasses. So I turned to sports,” he would later say.[2]

Leinart attended Mater Dei High School and was a student and a letterman in football. As a junior, he led his team to a California Interscholastic Federation Division I co-championship, and was named the Sierra League's Offensive Most Valuable Player. Wearing the same number 7 he does today with the Cardinals, he was chosen as the Gatorade California high school football player of the year.[3]

As one of the nation's top college football recruits, Leinart committed to USC under coach Paul Hackett, noting that a major factor was offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.[4] However, after Hackett and most of his staff were fired in 2000, Leinart considered other programs such as Georgia Tech and Arizona State and visited Oklahoma before USC eventually hired Pete Carroll.[5][6][7]

College career

Leinart redshirted his first year (2001). As a redshirt freshman the next year, he was a backup to future Heisman Trophy winner and current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who was in his senior season at USC (one which would conclude with Palmer's Heisman victory). While Leinart appeared in a few plays during his freshman year, he threw no passes.

In his 2003 sophomore season, Leinart beat out Matt Cassel, a redshirt junior who backed up Palmer in 2002, and Purdue transfer Brandon Hance for the starting job at quarterback. Going into the season, Carroll and his coaching staff selected Leinart not because he had set himself significantly ahead of the pack in practice, but because they needed a starting quarterback.[8] When the coaching staff told Leinart he would be the starter, he replied, "You're never going to regret this."[9] There was some thought in the press that Leinart would merely hold the starting position until highly-touted true freshman John David Booty, who had bypassed his senior year in high school to attend USC, could learn the offense.[8]

His first career pass was a touchdown against Auburn. Leinart would win the first three games of his career before the then-No. 3 Trojans suffered a 34–31 triple-overtime defeat at California on September 27 that dropped the Trojans to No. 10.

Leinart and the Trojans bounced back the next week against Arizona State. Leinart injured his knee in the second quarter and was not expected to play again that day, but he returned to the game and finished 12-of-23 for 289 yards in a 37–17 victory.

Leinart and the Trojans won their final eight games and finished the regular season 11–1 and ranked No. 1 in the AP and coaches' polls. However, USC was left out of the BCS championship game after finishing third in the BCS behind Oklahoma and LSU. The Trojans went to the Rose Bowl and played University of Michigan. Leinart was named the Rose Bowl MVP after he went 23-of-34 for 327 yards, throwing three touchdowns and catching a touchdown of his own. The Trojans finished No. 1 in the AP Poll, winning the AP national championship.

In 13 starts, Leinart was 255 for 402 for 3,556 yards and 38 TDs with 9 INTs. He finished sixth in the Heisman voting.

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Later years

The Trojans started Leinart's junior season (2004) with victories in their first three games. On September 25, the Trojans played Stanford University. After Stanford took a 28–17 halftime lead, Leinart sparked the offense with a 51-yard pass to Steve Smith and scored on a one-yard sneak to cut the Cardinal lead to four points. Leinart and the Trojans were able to take the lead on a LenDale White touchdown rush and hold on for the victory, 31–28. Leinart completed 24 of 30 passes.

He finished the final regular season game against UCLA, but was held without a touchdown pass for the first time in 25 starts. Nonetheless, Leinart was invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony, along with teammate Reggie Bush, Oklahoma's freshman sensation Adrian Peterson, incumbent Jason White, and Utah's Alex Smith. In what many had considered one of the more competitive Heisman races, Leinart became the sixth USC player to claim the Heisman Trophy.

Matt Leinart's Heisman Trophy

In 2004, USC went wire-to-wire at No. 1 in the polls and earned a bid to the BCS title game at the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma, which was also 12–0. A dream matchup on paper (including White vs. Leinart, which was to be the first time two Heisman winners would play against each other), the Orange Bowl turned out to be a rout, as Leinart threw for five touchdown passes on 18-for-35 passing and 332 yards to lead the Trojans to a 55–19 victory. Leinart received Orange Bowl MVP honors and the Trojans claimed their first BCS national championship and second straight No. 1 finish in the AP, extending their winning streak to 22 games.

The 2005 Trojans again had a perfect 12–0 regular season. Against Notre Dame, Leinart threw for a career-high 400 yards. After an incomplete pass and a sack led to a fourth-and-nine situation with 1:36 left--at the Trojans' own 26-yard line, Leinart called an audible "slant and go" route at the line of scrimmage and threw deep against the Irish's man-to-man coverage, where Dwayne Jarrett caught the ball and raced to the Irish' 13-yard line, a 61-yard gain. Leinart moved the ball to the goal line as time dwindled and scored on a QB sneak that gave the Trojans a 34–31 lead with three seconds to go, giving the Trojans their 28th straight victory and one of the most memorable and dramatic finishes in the history of the USC-Notre Dame rivalry.

Leinart, who was having arguably a better season than in 2004, was again invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony along with teammate Reggie Bush and Texas quarterback Vince Young. As a former Heisman winner, Leinart cast his first-place vote for Bush and ended up third in the voting behind Bush and runner-up Young.

The Trojans advanced to the Rose Bowl to face Vince Young and No. 2 Texas in the BCS title game. The title game was considered another "dream matchup." Leinart himself had a great game, going 29-of-40 for a touchdown and 365 yards, but was overshadowed by Young, who piled up 467 yards of total offense and rushed for three touchdowns, including a score with 19 seconds remaining and two-point conversion to put the Longhorns ahead, 41–38. The Trojans lost for the first time in 35 games, and Leinart for just the second time in his 39 career starts.

After graduation, Leinart's #11 jersey was retired at USC.

Career

Leinart finished his college career with 807 completions on 1,245 attempts (64.8% completion percentage) for 10,693 yards and 99 touchdowns with just 23 interceptions. He is USC's all-time leader in career touchdown passes and completion percentage, and is second at USC behind Palmer in completions and yardage. He averaged nearly 8.6 yards per attempt, and averaged only one interception every 54 attempts. He was 37–2 as a starter.

Stats

  • 2003: 255/402 (63.4%) for 3556 yards and 38 TD vs. 9 INT. 32 carries for -62 yards and 0 TD.
  • 2004: 269/412 (65.3%) for 3322 yards and 33 TD vs. 6 INT. 49 carries for -44 yards and 3 TD.
  • 2005: 283/431 (65.7%) for 3815 yards and 28 TD vs. 8 INT. 51 carries for 36 yards and 6 TD.

NFL career

2006 NFL Draft

Leinart was considered one of the top prospects in the 2006 NFL Draft class. Standing 6'5" (1.96 m) and weighing 225 pounds (100 kg) and a left-handed thrower, he was considered the prototypical NFL quarterback.

Leinart was selected tenth overall in the 2006 Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.

Pre-draft measureables
Wt 40y 20ss 3-cone Vert BP Wonderlic
223 lb X X X 37"[10] X X
(* represents NFL Combine)

Arizona Cardinals

Leinart at a Cardinals' practice

Leinart was involved in a prolonged holdout with the Cardinals on August 8, 2006. However, on August 14, Leinart agreed to a six-year, $51 million contract, becoming the very last member of the draft to sign a contract, and not before Cardinal Coach Dennis Green said that he had lost his patience.[11][12] Despite signing late, Leinart played in the second quarter of the exhibition game against the New England Patriots on August 19.

During the fourth week of the NFL season, unofficial sources projected that Leinart would take over as the starting quarterback, due to a poor performance by Kurt Warner in the previous game. During the week, coach Green held a conference and specifically stated that Warner would still start that week's game.

In a November 26 game, he set an NFL rookie record with 405 passing yards in a loss to the 6-10 Minnesota Vikings. His quarterback rating was 74.0. He suffered a sprained left shoulder (throwing arm) in a week 16 win over the San Francisco 49ers. In 11 starts, Leinart threw for 2,547 yards and 11 touchdowns. He finished the season with a 4–7 record.

Leinart opened the 2007 season on Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers as the starting quarterback. After a sequence of quarters in which the offense stalled, Whisenhunt began to insert Warner as a situational quarterback. On October 10, 2007, Leinart suffered a fractured left collarbone after being sacked by St. Louis Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon. Three days later, he was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Within his first 2 NFL seasons, Leinart had suffered two season-ending injures within a period of 5 sacks. With Warner at the helm for the remainder of the season, the Cardinals mounted a late-season surge and won five of their final 8 games. In 11 starts in 2007, Warner completed 281 of 451 attempts (62.3%) for 3,417 yards, 27 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and passer rating of 89.8.

In Leinart's second season with Arizona, he started 5 games and completed 53.6% of his passes (60/112) and threw for 647 yards, 5.8 yards per attempt, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. His passer rating was 61.9. He averaged 129 yards and 0.4 touchdowns per start.

In the 2008 offseason, after he recovered from the injury, Leinart was handed his starting job back, but his hold on the job was tenuous after another strong training camp performance by Warner. Finally, after Leinart threw 3 interceptions within a matter of minutes versus the Oakland Raiders in the third preseason game, Kurt Warner was named the opening-day starter. In 2008, Warner led the Cardinals to its first-ever NFC Championship title and its first-ever trip to the Super Bowl. Warner also set a franchise record for most touchdowns in a single season (30), completed 401 of 598 attempts for 4,583 yards (67.1%) and a 96.9 passer rating. Warner was named the starting quarterback for the NFC in the Pro Bowl, and signed a 2-year contract with the Cardinals in the offseason.

In 2008, Leinart picked up only a limited number of snaps in mop-up duty behind Warner. For the 2008 season, he completed 15 of 29 passing attempts (51.7%), 1 touchdown, 1 interception, and a 80.2 passer rating.

In 2009, Leinart continued his role as back-up for Warner, who started all but one regular season game.

In 2010, he was named starter after Kurt Warner retired on January 29th, 2010, however it is unknown if he will start for the Cardinals for the upcoming 2010 season.

Personal life

Leinart's son, Cole Cameron Leinart, was born on October 24, 2006 in California. The mother of Leinart's son is USC women's basketball player Brynn Cameron.[13] Leinart broke up with Cameron before the baby was born. Though they had a dispute over child support early on, they have since settled their differences and Leinart now has a regular schedule for seeing his son.[14][15]

Television and film appearances

Matt Leinart made an appearance on the May 1, 2006 episode of Punk'd, featuring Ashton Kutcher as the host. He also has appeared in several commercials on television, most notably for ABC's hit-sitcom Desperate Housewives. He also appeared in Nike's "Football is Everything" commercial as the backup quarterback on the sidelines holding a clipboard. He also starred in an NFL Sunday Ticket commercial with the Manning family (Peyton and Eli are surprised that father Archie is helping him with his throwing, only to have Archie say that "he always wanted a lefty"). In 2007, he appeared in the NFL Shop commercial with Steven Jackson and Adam Vinatieri where he threw an Arizona Cardinals throw blanket to a fan who made a diving catch. Most recently, Leinart appeared in a commercial for ESPN the Magazine. He appeared in seven episodes of Rome is Burning in 2006-07, Jimmy Kimmel Live after winning BCS title game (2005), and the 2008 film The House Bunny.

Honors

2004

  • Heisman Trophy Winner
  • Rose Bowl MVP
  • Walter Camp Award
  • AP player of the year
  • Touchdown Club Manning Award
  • Touchdown Club QB of the Year
  • Victor Award (Player of the Year)
  • James E. Sullivan Award Finalist
  • Newport college player of the year
  • AP All-American first team
  • Football Coaches All-American first team
  • ESPN, CSTV, Rivals.com, SI.com, and CFBNews first team All-American
  • Pac-10 Co-offensive player of the year
  • ESPN.com player of the year
  • Rivals.com player of the year
  • Pre-season All-American

2005

  • Orange Bowl MVP
  • Unitas Award
  • Finalist for Heisman Trophy
  • All-American Offensive Player
  • LA Sports Sportsman of the Year
  • Sporting News Sportsman of the Year
  • National Championship MVP

2006

Career statistics

College

    Passing   Rushing
Season Team GP Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT Att Yds TD
2003 USC Trojans 13 255 402 63.4 3,556 38 9 32 -62 0
2004 USC Trojans 13 269 412 65.3 3,322 33 6 49 -44 3
2005 USC Trojans 13 283 431 65.7 3,815 28 8 51 36 6
Totals 39 807 1,245 64.8 10,693 99 23 132 -70 9

NFL

    Passing   Rushing
Season Team GP Rating Att Comp Pct Yds TD INT Att Yds TD
2006 Arizona Cardinals 12 74.0 377 214 56.8 2,547 11 12 22 69 2
2007 Arizona Cardinals 5 61.9 112 60 53.6 647 2 4 11 42 0
2008 Arizona Cardinals 4 80.2 29 15 51.7 264 1 1 2 -12 0
Totals 21 71.7 518 289 55.8 3,458 14 17 35 99 2

References

  1. ^ Honolulu Star-Bulletin Sports /2005/08/31/
  2. ^ Player Bio: Matt Leinart :: Football
  3. ^ Ben Bolch, Leinart Chosen State Player of Year, Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2000, Accessed July 16, 2008.
  4. ^ Ben Bolch, Leinart, Hart Keeping Options Open, Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2000, Accessed July 16, 2008.
  5. ^ David Wharton and Ben Bolch, USC Recruit Leinart Waits to See Who Will Be Coach, Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2000, Accessed July 16, 2008.
  6. ^ Chris Dufresne, Timing Isn’t Entirely on Carroll’s Side, Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2000, Accessed July 16, 2008.
  7. ^ Ben Bolch, Recruits Seem to Be Committed, Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2000, Accessed July 16, 2008.
  8. ^ a b David Leon Moore, Booty carrying on USC's quarterback tradition, USA TODAY, August 3, 2007.
  9. ^ Ted Miller, Once anointed as USC QB, Sanchez asserted himself[1], ESPN.com, July 24, 2008, Accessed July 28, 2008.
  10. ^ Packers.com » News » Stories » April 27, 2006: Gil Brandt's Analysis By Position: Quarterbacks
  11. ^ ESPN - Leinart, Cardinals reach agreement on six-year deal - NFL
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ Matt Leinart, Brynn Cameron Have a Son
  14. ^ Leinart learning from sidelines
  15. ^ Billy Witz, "U.S.C.’s Cameron Balances Basketball and Motherhood", New York Times, March 13, 2009.

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Larry Fitzgerald
Walter Camp Award Winner
2004
Succeeded by
Reggie Bush
Preceded by
Jason White
Heisman Trophy Winner
2004
Succeeded by
Reggie Bush
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kurt Warner
Arizona Cardinals Starting Quarterbacks
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Kurt Warner
Preceded by
Carson Palmer
USC Trojans Starting Quarterbacks
2003–2005
Succeeded by
John David Booty

Simple English

Matt Leinart
Houston Texans
Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: May 11, 1983 (1983-05-11) (age 27)
Place of birth: Santa Ana, California
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
College: Southern California
NFL Draft: 2006 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Debuted in 2006 for the Arizona Cardinals
Career history
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
  • Heisman Trophy (2004)
  • Manning Award (2004)
  • Johnny Unitas Award (2004)
  • Walter Camp Award (2005)

Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2007
TD-INT    13-16
Passing yards    3,194
QB Rating    71.2
Stats at NFL.com

Matthew Stephen Leinart (born May 11, 1983 in Santa Ana, California) is an American football quarterback for the Houston Texans of the National Football League. He played college football for the University of Southern California Trojans. In 2004, his junior year at USC, he won the Heisman Trophy. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2006. The Cardinals released him in 2010, and he was signed by the Houston Texans.

Contents

Honors

2004

  • Heisman Trophy Winner
  • Rose Bowl MVP
  • Walter Camp Award
  • AP player of the year
  • Touchdown Club Manning Award
  • Touchdown Club QB of the Year
  • Victor Award (Player of the Year)
  • James E. Sullivan Award Finalist
  • Newport college player of the year
  • AP All-American first team
  • Football Coaches All-American first team
  • ESPN, CSTV, Rivals.com, SI.com, and CFBNews first team All-American
  • Pac-10 Co-offensive player of the year
  • ESPN.com player of the year
  • Rivals.com player of the year
  • Pre-season All-American

2005

  • Orange Bowl MVP
  • Unitas Award
  • Finalist for Heisman Trophy
  • All-American Offensive Player
  • LA Sports Sportsman of the Year
  • Sporting News Sportsman of the Year
  • National Championship MVP

2006

  • Cosmopolitan Fun Fearless Males 2006
  • ESPN Hottest Male Athlete of the Year
  • People Magazine 100 Most Beautiful People
  • 10th Pick in the 2006 NFL draft

Career statistics

College

    Passing   Rushing
Season Team GP Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT Att Yds TD
2003 USC Trojans 13 255 402 63.4 3556 38 9 32 -62 0
2004 USC Trojans 13 269 412 65.3 3322 33 6 49 -44 3
2005 USC Trojans 13 283 431 65.7 3815 28 8 51 36 6
Totals 39 807 1245 64.8 10693 99 23 132 -70 9

NFL

    Passing   Rushing
Season Team GP Rating Att Comp Pct Yds TD INT Att Yds TD
2006 Arizona Cardinals 12 74.0 377 214 56.8 2547 11 12 22 69 2
2007 Arizona Cardinals 5 71.9 112 60 53.6 647 2 4 11 42 0
Totals 17 71.2 489 274 56.0 3194 13 16 33 91 2

Other websites

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kurt Warner
Arizona Cardinals Starting Quarterbacks
2006-2007
Succeeded by
Kurt Warner
Preceded by
Carson Palmer
USC Trojans Starting Quarterbacks
2003-2006
Succeeded by
John David Booty

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