Leinart agrees to one-year deal with Texans
HOUSTON – Matt Leinart has agreed to a one-year deal with the Houston Texans, according to agent Tom Condon.
Leinart was cut by Arizona on Saturday. Condon confirmed in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Monday that Leinart had reached a deal with the Texans.
The Texans would not confirm the deal. The team returns to practice Wednesday, leading up to Sunday’s season opener against Indianapolis.
The Texans were looking for insurance at backup quarterback after Dan Orlovsky threw two interceptions in Houston’s last preseason game last week. John David Booty, another former Southern Cal quarterback, threw two touchdown passes in that game, but was cut over the weekend.
The Cardinals took Leinart with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2006 draft, after he guided the Trojans to two national championships and a third title game appearance. With Kurt Warner retired, Leinart figured to finally get his chance to start this season, but Derek Anderson won the job in training camp.
Leinart complained that he had issues with coach Ken Whisenhunt, and the two met late in the preseason. Leinart threw for 3,893 yards with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions with Arizona.
Houston had the NFL’s top passing offense last season (291 yards per game) and starter Matt Schaub led the league with 4,770 yards passing.
Orlovsky was Houston’s third-string quarterback in 2009. Coach Gary Kubiak said Orlovsky needed to cut down on mistakes in preseason action, and his two interceptions against Tampa Bay last Thursday raised questions whether he’d even make the final roster.
Booty, who succeeded Leinart as Southern Cal’s starting quarterback in 2006, was released instead. After the Tampa Bay game, Kubiak revealed that Booty had been bothered by a shoulder injury during training camp.
Leinart appeared in 12 games as a rookie under coach Dennis Green and threw 11 touchdown passes with 12 interceptions. He started the first five games in 2007 under Whisenhunt before breaking his collarbone, and Warner took the job.
Warner put together two spectacular seasons, while Leinart watched from the sidelines. Leinart played in eight games last season, and completed 66 percent of his passes, but threw three interceptions without a touchdown.
Leinart openly complained when Anderson moved past him on Arizona’s depth chart during training camp this year. He said his issues with Whisenhunt were “probably away from football” and the two had a private meeting the next day.
The Cardinals failed in efforts to trade Leinart before cutting him. By releasing him, Arizona doesn’t have to pay him the $2.5 million he was due for the coming season.
— AP sportswriter Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this story.