Leinart to miss rest of season with broken collarbone
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 season.
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 Leinart.
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 Buccaneers.
"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."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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