Raiders sign Leinart to be backup QB
AP Sports Writer
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – Matt Leinart is back in a familiar role as Carson Palmer’s backup at quarterback.
The Oakland Raiders signed Leinart to a one-year contract on Tuesday, giving them two former Heisman Trophy winners from Southern California at quarterback.
Leinart reached the deal after working out for the Raiders to show that he has fully recovered from a broken left collarbone that cut short his 2011 season. Oakland also brought in Peyton Manning’s former backup, Jim Sorgi, for a tryout but decided to go with Leinart.
Leinart is the only backup on the Raiders roster who has thrown a pass in the NFL. Terrelle Pryor, who was taken last summer in the supplemental draft, played one game last season and committed a penalty his only time on the field. Rhett Bomar spent two years on the New York Giants’ practice squad.
Leinart spent two years behind Palmer at USC, including when Palmer won the Heisman Trophy in 2002. Leinart took over the Trojans the next season and won two national championships and the Heisman Trophy in 2004.
He was drafted 10th overall by Arizona in 2006 but has struggled as a pro. He started 11 games as a rookie with the Cardinals but only seven games in the past five seasons.
He broke his collarbone after five starts in 2007 and then was beaten out for the starting job the next season by Kurt Warner. He spent the past two seasons with the Texans as Matt Schaub’s backup.
Leinart got a chance to start last season with the Texans after Schaub broke his right foot, but Leinart got hurt in the first half against Jacksonville on Nov. 27, after completing 10 of 13 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, ending his season. Leinart was cut by the Texans in March.
Leinart has completed 57.6 percent of his passes in his career with 15 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and a 71.6 passer rating.
He will also be reunited in Oakland with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who was his quarterbacks coach with the Texans.
The Raiders also confirmed an NFL Network report that they have fired longtime scout Jon Kingdon after 33 years with the organization. Kingdon was the head of college scouting and general manager Reggie McKenzie had said earlier this offseason that he wanted to bring in his own team after the draft.