Matt Leinart may be done for the year. Making his first start of the season for the Houston Texans in place of the injured Matt Schaub, Leinart was knocked out of Sunday's game before halftime with a collarbone injury. The official word on Leinart's status won't be determined until he undergoes more tests, but he's not expecting good news.
"There's a pretty strong possibility I probably won't be coming back this season," Leinart said.
For the Texans, the timing couldn't be worse, especially considering Leinart looked surprisingly good before leaving. He didn't rack up many yards, but he completed 10-of-13 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown in nearly two quarters of work, steering the Texans to a 20-10 halftime lead.
Leinart knows a thing or two about this type of injury, suffering a broken left collarbone in 2007. That injury opened the door for Kurt Warner to regain the starting job, which he'd hold onto until retiring following the 2009 season.
Several outlets, including the NFL Network, report the Texans share Leinart's fear, although publicly head coach Gary Kubiak isn't jumping to any conclusions, telling reporters that X-rays were inconclusive.
With Schaub already on the Injured Reserve and Leinart's status now in doubt, T.J. Yates, who was third on the depth chart just a couple of weeks ago, could be in line start the rest of the season. He completed 8-of-15 passes for 70 yards after replacing Leinart.
A broken collarbone would almost certainly end Leinart's season. He first broke his collarbone in 2007, an injury that cost him his rookie season.
Leinart was looking at least halfway decent before this injury, completing 10 of 13 passes and tossing a touchdown. T.J. Yates replaced Leinart after the injury and has not been asked to do much. He has completed 3 of 7 passes for 39 yards, as the Texans have built a 20-10 lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With Matt Leinart in the midst of having himself a pretty solid day, it only makes sense that he'd go down with an injury. After trying to throw the ball away to avoid a sack, Leinart was driven into the ground and immediately went to the sidelines. After being briefly inspected, he went to the locker room. After halftime, it was announced he would miss the rest of the game.
Prior to getting hurt, Leinart had completed 10 of 13 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. He was far from dominant, but he was looking competent, which was more than many of us expected.
After the injury, 2011 fifth-round draft pick T.J. Yates became the third Texans quarterback to throw a pass in the last two weeks. Yates looked decent, completing 3 of 6 passes for 36 yards. He led the Texans to a field goal that gave them a 20-10 lead heading into halftime.
Whether or not Leinart returns, though, you have to imagine the Texans will be relying heavily on Arian Foster. He has 62 yards and a touchdown so far.
Matt Leinart is roughly one or two lifetimes removed from the days when he was "the next great left-handed NFL quarterback" or whatever people were calling him when he was deciding to party at USC for another year, rather than play in the NFL. On Sunday, though, he showed he's still more likely to throw a touchdown than some random dude on his couch. Leinart connected with tight end Joel Dreessen on a 20-yard touchdown. It was Leinart's first touchdown since December 2008.
To be entirely fair, it was a pretty good pass. Of course, the announcers in this game are making it sound like this is proof that this throw justifies Leinart's NFL employment. Those statements ignore the fact that Leinart had looked pretty humdrum before that, completing eight of his first nine passes, but none of them for more than eight yards.
Leinart still has a long ways to go before anyone forgets what a colossal bust he's been. But this is a place to start, at least.
Week 12 of the NFL season already has a great story you'll probably be hearing more about. Ashton Youboty, the 2006 third round draft pick out of Ohio State, scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery on just his second play since signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 15.
There are a few things about Youboty that are worth mentioning. First off, he's Liberian. His family settled in Philadelphia when he was a child. He eventually earned a scholarship to Ohio State and left there after his junior year to purse an NFL career.
He spent four relatively nondescript seasons with the Buffalo Bills before getting cut in 2010. He was very briefly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year, but never appeared in a game. The Jaguars then "signed him off the street," as the saying goes, just about two weeks ago. Rumor has it, he was participating in Occupy Florida movements in the meantime.
OK, that last part is not true. But anytime I hear someone say a player was "signed off the street," I always feel like it sounds like these guys were homeless until signing. Well, it does make for a better story, right?
The perennial Pro Bowler was on pace for a trip to Honolulu, catching 25 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns in the 14 quarters prior to his injury. Seven weeks later, Johnson returns to find his quarterback Matt Schaub is out for the season with a broken foot, with former Arizona Cardinals first-round pick Matt Leinart slated to start for the final six games of the regular season.