What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
It is officially time for people who write those “biggest draft bust” lists to begin writing the “Matt Leinart” entry. Now that he’s been relegated to the third-string in Houston, it’s a pretty safe bet the “potential” in his career is gone. He now becomes the 45-year old guy who once was the “smartest kid in school,” but for whose petulant attitude and complete social maladjustment finds himself as a shift leader at a Golden Corral. The list is so long that I’m afraid my hand would cramp long before I typed all of it. Lets just agree to call it the “Ryan Leaf” list and I’m sure we will all get the idea.
What else is certain? Leinart is at the “Pffft, I’m glad to be away from that bunch of dicks” phase of his journey. Sure, he’s a third-stringer, but he’s still in the NFL. He thinks he still can get back on the field because he once was the best quarterback in a league far, far away. He thinks Ken Whisenhunt and the Cardinals were the problem, not him. That thinking completely ignores the stories about Leinart’s losing the Cardinal locker room.
In order for a quarterback to be able to succeed, he has to be able to lead a team. That’s pretty hard to do when the team has issues with him. Even Leinart’s own words suggest he has figured out that he is now a career bench jockey and that his demotion was for a reason that “probably goes beyond football.” The trouble is he has no idea what that reason is.
Looking at his exit from Arizona tells the story, both past and future. That fact that just before his release Leinart stood in front of the media and declared he had outplayed his competition spelled his doom. Had he really done so, the media would have said it for him. Had he really done so, the team would have said it for him. The fact that he is saying it himself only shows that he has no clue how to win the respect of a team; no leader can lead a team that doesn’t respect him. Even if he had a point, his words came off as more arrogance. Even if he had an argument, he sounded like a whiner. He questioned a coach who took a team that hadn’t been anywhere in decades to the Super Bowl. He suggested that coach was putting personal feelings ahead of winning, an absurd notion in a profession where winning is the only means of survival. He proclaimed himself the victor in a competition still ongoing. And he lost it all.
He’s also not likely to learn this lesson in Houston, either. See, since he’s been in the league for five years now, it is assumed he doesn’t need to be taught anything about leadership. If anybody thought it was worth the time and effort it takes to teach true leadership skills, he wouldn’t be a third-stringer. That is a serious indictment considering the shortage of talent at the quarterback position in the NFL. Not to mention, how many guys stay as a third-string guy more than two years? if football were run like a business, being on the third-string is an entry-level position, and the NFL subscribes to an “up or out” model when it comes to entry-level spots. Two years from now, the Texans will want that roster spot for a young quarterback in whom they feel the investment is worthy.
Then comes Leinart’s next career stop; the aforementioned Golden Corral.