By now, we all know the story of Matt Leinart. The Arizona Cardinals drafted the USC standout with the 10th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Since then, he's spent his time on the sidelines, holding a clipboard as quarterbacks passed him by. Ahead of the 2010 season, the Cardinals decided to cut ties, and Leinart headed to Houston, playing a backup role and never seeing game action for the Texans. So why is he a possible option for the Seattle Seahawks as the NFL free agency period opens?
As crazy as it sounds, Leinart is in play as the Seahawks search for an answer at the quarterback spot. That doesn't, however, mean he's the Seahawks savior. As Danny Kelly points out at Field Gulls, perhaps Leinart just needs a chance, and the confidence of his head coach. Pete Carroll knows Leinart well from their time at USC, and knows which buttons to put to get him to perform.
This next part might intrigue you a little bit. As Jess alluded to, Pete Carroll, shortly after accepting the reins for the Seahawks last season, talked to reporters about how important job-security was for Leinart and how he was floundering a bit before being given the starting job over Matt Cassell. After 'winning' that confidence from his coach, he went on to play so well he won the Heisman Trophy. Here's what Carroll said about Leinart's chances starting for the Cardinals last season:
"I know the fact when Kenny [Whisenhunt] says to Matt, 'You're my starting quarterback', it makes worlds of difference to Matt. I watched that happen when we had to choose between he and Cassel years ago. Matt was floundering. Cassel was floundering. We didn't look like we were going anywhere. Then we made a call the last day of spring practice, 'OK, if we were playing a game today, you'd be the starter, Leinart. Go ahead and take it over.' He had a look in his eye. He said what I think he probably said to Kenny: 'You'll never regret this and you'll never have to look back.' And he just flipped and hit the switch.
Read the rest of his post for the full experience.
Kelly also looked at the Seahawks and whether the team would be a good fit for Leinart. It is, he found, and Leinart could succeed, if given the opportunity.In fact, Seattle may be the best situation for Leinart.
I would have to think, of all the teams in the league, the 'right situation at the right time with the right kind of people' would most aptly describe the current state of the Seahawks. On paper, the Seahawks are more than right for Leinart. Now, is Leinart right for the Seahawks? THAT, my friends, is a 'whoooooole nother question,' as they say.
The rumor is out there, and has been for months. Back in May, talk about Leinart heading to Seattle heated up, and though it's died down a bit, the possibility is still alive.
Scott Wolf of Inside USC reported yesterday that he's hearing "the Seahawks spoke to former USC quarterback Matt Leinart about joining the team next season." Though these rumors have been floated recently simply out of a logical deduction regarding Carroll and Leinart's history together and the fact Leinart is a free agent, this is the first I've heard of any actual source to the idea. I'm not saying that I necessarily believe what Wolf is reporting, but it's an interesting development nonetheless as I'm a bit of a sucker for rumor mongering.. cough.
Depending on how things shake out in free agency, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Leinart in Seattle. At worst, he's worth a look as a backup, and could be another Pete Carroll reclamation (tm) project.