By Josh Kramer
USC was the cream of the crop in college football during the early part of the 2000s. They were the “U,” after the “U.” This resulted in their naming as the team of the decade for the period between 1996 and 2006. It was a renaissance of sorts in Los Angeles in regards to collegiate football. All was good in southern California under the direction of Pete Carroll and an outstanding crop of quarterbacks. Carson Palmer got the party started in Trojanville taking home a Heisman Trophy and an Orange Bowl victory. Then came Matt Leinart. Leinart proceeded to have one of the all-time great college careers capturing two National Championships and a Heisman Trophy.
After his decorated college career, Palmer went on to spend eight years in the Midwest. There were many ups and downs for the former Trojan star, but due to injuries and many other factors, Palmer never lived up to the promise he once demonstrated as a Trojan. Matt Leinart’s professional career has still failed to really take flight yet. It has been all downs and very few ups for the former Heisman winner.
Well yesterday, Matt Leinart signed on with the Oakland Raiders and put himself into a familiar spot. Not only is he back in California, but he is back to studying under Carson Palmer.We all know what results that yielded back when he was sporting the cardinal and gold. Could lightning strike twice for Leinart?
Now this is all speculation of course. Leinart is the backup in Oakland. Palmer is the starter. And this isn’t college where kids graduate. Though it should be noted that Palmer is 32-years-old, and has suffered a plethora of injuries during his career. Leinart has never played more than 12 games in a season. He is still just 28-years-old (nearly 29). The clock is surely ticking. But this is the NFL, where injuries are a major part of the game. A guy can go from holding the clipboard on the sidelines to throwing passes late in the fourth quarter at the drop of a hat.
Will Leinart be ready to succeed Palmer again? Who knows. But I must admit that this has the potential to turn into a heck of a story.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.