Everyone is going to have a slightly different perspective on Matt Leinart. Mine comes from right after the NFC Championship game. Leinart didn’t play, just like he had barely played all year. But he, like most of his teammates, was euphoric after the Cards won and made it to the Super Bowl. He didn’t come across like the aloof guy that so many seem to believe him to be.
I don’t know if he’ll turn into a good NFL quarterback but I do think he has grown up and I think he learned a lot by watching Kurt Warner. That said, I think he needed Warner to leave to have any chance to flourish (and not just because Warner won’t be there to play). I made the parallel to Matt about it being like the older brother leaving home, giving the younger brother a chance to be his own person. The two had been linked since Leinart came into the league in one way or another.
Leinart could see the analogy.
“Me and Kurt have had such a roller coaster the last four years, it’s been so up and down,” Leinart said. “There has been so much attention on our position, as far as me coming in the rookie year, me getting hurt, splitting time, and the battle where he beat me out and then him resurrecting his career and becoming a Hall of Famer.
“I learned so much from him and I respect him so much and what he did, what he has accomplished and how he has accomplished everything. But now I am excited because now I can kind of be my own person. I don’t have to look over my shoulder and that’s something I always felt like I was doing, for whatever reason. The last two years, I wanted to play, but it was nice. I didn’t have to look over my shoulder. I was just studying and preparing for this time, for this year. The last two years I could have been one of those guys who said things I shouldn’t have … and been a distraction. But I wanted to make the time to my advantage and then, when he was done, I’d make it my time.”
Tags: Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart
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