PHOENIX -- An already difficult second NFL season came to an
end for Arizona's Matt Leinart on Tuesday when he was placed on
injured reserve with a broken collarbone.
Kurt Warner, the 36-year-old quarterback who had shared duties
with Leinart, moves into the starting job. The team signed Tim
Rattay on Tuesday to be Warner's backup.
Leinart, a left-hander, fractured his left collarbone when he
was sacked by Will Witherspoon in the second quarter of the
Cardinals' 34-31 victory over the Rams in St. Louis on Sunday. He
sat on the sideline in the second half with his arm in a sling.
"We didn't want to rush him back," first-year coach Ken
Whisenhunt said. "To hold a roster spot for that long is
difficult, with some of the areas we are banged, with the hope he
can get back in time. I am more concerned about him trying to rush
back and maybe jeopardize his future."
The uncertain timetable was a major reason for calling an end to
the young quarterback's season.
"Whenever you have a fracture there will be six weeks or
however long it takes to heal," Whisenhunt said, "and then,
especially because it is his throwing shoulder, you have to do the
rehabilitation of it throwing the football. Who knows what it could
have been? Could have been 8 weeks, could have been 12 weeks."
Leinart, the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft, had been
unhappy with the two-quarterback system employed by Whisenhunt. The
former Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion at USC
has started 16 games for Arizona, including the first five this
But Whisenhunt used Warner when the team went to a no-huddle
offense that often has been effective.
Warner's statistics are better than Leinart's.
Warner has completed 62 percent of his passes (43-of-69) for 580
yards, with four touchdowns and one interception. Leinart has
completed 54 percent (60-of-112) for 647 yards, with two touchdowns
and four interceptions.
Warner, a former NFL and Super Bowl MVP, is in his 10th NFL
season, the past three with the Cardinals. He started the first
four games last season before losing the job to the then-rookie
Rattay, an eight-year veteran, played in four games last year
for Tampa Bay and completed 61 of 101 passes. He played for the San
Francisco 49ers for six years before being traded to the
"He has competed in this league and he has started in this
league," Whisenhunt said. "That will help him pick up the
offense. Just the way he understands the game -- you see it on tape
-- that's why we were interested in him."