Cardinals officially release Leinart

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 9:49 PM ET

TEMPE, AZ - The Arizona Cardinals have officially released quarterback Matt Leinart, as part of a group of Saturday moves to pare their roster to the 53-player maximum.

Leinart, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 10 overall pick in the 2006 draft, had been expected to open behind center for Arizona in 2010. But Leinart fell out of favor with head coach Ken Whisenhunt during the preseason, and was demoted behind former Brown Derek Anderson prior to the team’s third warm-up game.

Leinart leaves Arizona with a 7-10 record as a starter over parts of four seasons, with 14 touchdown passes, 20 interceptions and a 70.8 career passer rating.

Rookies Max Hall (BYU) and John Skelton (Fordham) will start the year as Anderson’s backups.

Also on Saturday, the Cardinals waived-injured linebacker Chris Johnson (ankle) and running back Alfonso Smith (neck).

On Friday, the club announced the release of linebackers Stevie Baggs, Monty Beisel and Cody Brown, tight end Anthony Becht, defensive linemen Jeremy Clark and John Fletcher, defensive backs Trevor Ford and Justin Miller, wide receivers Ed Gant, Mike Jones, Onrea Jones and Isaiah Williams, offensive linemen Herman Johnson, Jonathan Palmer and Tom Pestock and fullback Charles Scott.

Additionally, the team placed linebacker Gerald Hayes on the physically unable to perform list and waived-injured linebacker Mark Washington.

Arizona opens its 2010 regular season next Sunday, when the Cardinals travel to meet the NFC West rival St. Louis Rams.


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