Leinart's spectacular fall from grace

Former Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart watches from the sidelines during a preseason game...

Former Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart watches from the sidelines during a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee on August 23, 2010. (GRANT HALVERSON/Getty Images)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 PM ET

So much promise, so much hype and such a big fall.

Such has been the career of quarterback Matt Leinart.

From USC star and Heisman Trophy winner (2004) to first round pick by the Arizona Cardinals to out of a job.

On Saturday the Cardinals did the expected and said goodbye to Leinart after a less-than-stellar four years with the Cardinals who believed they had their quarterback of the future when they drafted him 10th overall in 2006.

Since that date it's been mostly unfullfilled expectations for Leinart whose NFL career consists of 29 games, 17 starts, a 57.1 completion percentage, 3,893 yards, 14 touchdowns, 20 picks and zero respect.

In the end, Leinart lost his coach Ken Wisenhunt and lost his job to veteran retread Derek Anderson.

Leinart came into the Cardinals training camp as the heir apparent to Kurt Warner, who retired following a brilliant career, but after unimpressive starts in the first two pre-season games the writing was on the wall.

Leinart could move the offense, did not have the respect of his teammates and didn't do himself any favours when he whined to the media.

Now he's out of a job and without many prospects.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, decided they'd rather go with two rookies -- John Skelton and Max Hall -- as backups for Anderson.

But if Leinart is looking for inspiration, he need not gaze any further than Anderson who has had an up-and-down NFL career.

Anderson was a one-time waiver claim by Cleveland from Baltimore who made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and has struggled since. Now he's back as the Cardinals No. 1 pivot.

The Rams king

While Leinart is out of a job, in St. Louis they announced that golden boy Sam Bradford, the No. 1 pick in this spring's draft, will open the season as the Rams starting quarterback.

The move is not unexpected as Bradford, the former Sooners from Oklahoma, has sparkled in pre-season while veteran A.J. Feeley, the starter at the beginning of training camp, has been bothered by a sprained thumb.

In two pre-season starts, Bradford was 21-of-28 for 257 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

What's not to like?

"We're confident. The staff's confident. The team's confident," head coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "It's well deserved.

"It was evident in these last three games that he had pretty good control of what we're doing. The team kind of rallies around him."

The Rams gave every indication that it was Bradford's job to lose when the released Marc Bulger, their starting quarterback the previous seven seasons.

Meanwhile, Spagnuolo said that Feeley would return to practice Monday, but he wasn't sure if he was ready to take snaps.

A Manhatten rose

The Giants filled a gaping hole Saturday when the acquired Sage Rosenfels from Minnesota to be the backup quarterback to Eli Manning.

The Giants also acquired running back/punt returner Darius Reynaud in exchange for an undisclosed pick in the 2011 draft as well as a conditional pick in the 2012 draft.

The Giants had been looking for a capable backup and even gave some thought to Leinart after Jim Sorgi suffered a season-ending shoulder injury earlier in the pre-season.

Rosenfels thought he was in the hunt for a starting job with the Vikings with Tarvaris Jackson after Minnesota acquired him in a trade with Houston in 2009.

The acquisition of Brett Favre bumped Rosenfels, a 10-year vet, out of action last year and his Favre's un-retirement this year knocked him out of Minnesota and all the way to New York.

Quick hits

Proving it was a bad day all around for former Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks, the Baltimore Ravens cut former Ohio State Buckeye Troy Smith. Smith won the Heisman in 2006 ... This move was not unexpected but it is still a giant kick to the cajones as the Baltimore Ravens placed all-world safety Ed Reed on the PUP list. It guarantees that Reed will be out for the opening six weeks as he is still recovering from off-season hip surgery to repair a torn labrum. In his absence, Tom Zbikowski will man the safety position. How important is Reed to the defence and the team? Consider this: In his eight-year career, Reed has missed just 10 games. The Ravens have lost seven of those games ... In another move, the Ravens traded outside linebacker Antwan Barnes to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a conditional 2011 draft pick ... Among the departed from the Seattle roster, quarterback J.P. Losman ... Age creeps up on us all and it appears that Father Time has taken its toll on hard-working running back Willie Parker, 29, who was released by the Washington Redskins. Parker's glory days were with the Steelers where in six seasons he won two Super Bowl rings ... Sticking with the Redskins, they traded third-year cornerback Justin Tryon to the Colts.

mike.rutsey@sunmedia.ca


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