According to multiple reports coming out of Arizona, Matt Leinart is officially on the trading block. The former USC star and Heisman Trophy winner is unhappy that newcomer Derek Anderson has been handed the starting job hopes to get a new opportunity elsewhere.
Fox Sports' Jay Glazer broke the news that the Arizona Cardinals have been telling teams Leinart is available for trade. This comes after Leinart telling head coach Ken Whisenhunt and management that he would not settle for a backup role with the team.
On Tuesday, Whisenhunt appeared on ESPN Radio’s Scott Van Pelt Show and questioned Leinart’s intangibles and leadership.
"There is a lot that goes with it besides just statistics. It’s more about how you handle the team, how you handle situations. There is a certain quality that you have to have in that position and that is all part of the evaluation process," Whisenhunt said. "And I think, more importantly, is how your team responds to that player and how you handle that role. I’m not talking about Matt. I’m just saying I feel like he has made great progress in that area, but, for whatever reason, we have not performed the way we have needed to perform as an offense."
According to Glazer, Leinart believes he is an NFL starter and does not want to come off the bench for any team, not just the Cardinals. On Monday, Leinart publicly criticized Whisenhunt’s decision to pick Anderson as the starting quarterback.
"We obviously touched base on where everything was," Whisenhunt told reporters Tuesday, "Which I've always said I wanted. If players have an issue or a problem to come see me. We had communicated before about where we were and obviously we needed to talk a little bit more, but it was a good talk."
Early last week rumors circulated that the team may release Leinart.
"That’s not something we have discussed. I can tell you that," Whisenhunt told Van Pelt. "We have put a lot of time and effort in with Matt in trying to help him improve as a quarterback and fit into what we do well. I would say that would be something that would take a lot of time and thought before we made any kind of decision like that."
The Oakland Raiders were said to have been interested in Leinart, but the team's officials have described the rumor as untrue.