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Saturday, April 29, 2006

"No. I'm Not Disappointed" - Matt Leinart, Picked 10th By the Arizona Cardinals, Meets The Press - Video

(Photo credit: Bill Chachkes, NL Scouting)

After a whirlwind five months which saw his life literally played out on the Internet, firing his agent, parties large and small (like the nice one at Gustavino's on Thursday), and numerous reports that he would either be picked by the Tennesee Titans or slide down as many as 16 picks, USC's two-time national champion quarteback Matt Leinart was picked by The Arizona Cardinals as the 10th selection in the first round of the NFL Draft.

A crowded Radio City Music Hall Interview Room was the result of a mad rush to come down and hear what Leinart had to say. Frankly, I know Matt was just happy to get it all over with. He goes to a team with a proven veteran he can learn from in Kurt Warner, a good set of running backs, Ex-Colt Edgerrin James and J.J. Arrington from Cal, a respected head coach in Dennis Green (who calls him God-sent) and a brand new, state of the art stadium. Plus, he's as close to the West Coast and home as he can possibly be without being in LA.

Nice for him.

For some reaon the East Coast media loves to hit Matt on this "Hollywood Image" thing, a line of questioning that Leinart's clearly tired of: "If teams passed on me for that reason, that's their problem, not mine. I don't think there's a Hollywood Image. "

As my friend, NL Scouting's Bill Chackles put it: "I'm only slightly surprised that Matt fell as far as he did, but it was more because of the other deals going on around the top of the round then because of Questions about Matt's "Lifestyle". Still, I remarked to his Personal Coach, Steve Clarkson, "better 10th then 30th, Right?" his answer, "Thats Right."

(Well, I think the problem comes with his association with Hollywood Agency CAA, Jessica Simpson, and others. If it's part of his life, it's part of his life; he's get used to being in that "place" as long as the money's right.)

My friend ESPN's Darren Rovell asked if anyone aimed the "Do you realize how much money you lost by going 10th?" question. The answer is no -- no one other than you, DR. In fact, only about eight questions were asked. A small number considering the person. But then more were asked in the back interview room, including two by me.

One of them stemmed from a concern I had that he -- like the other draftees -- may be experiencing a loss of friends because of their newly developed celebrity status; in other words, he didn't know who his friends were. Matt took that question and ran with it, as you'll see on the video at www.nflbusinessblog.com. "Yeah, it's like you've got more hangers on and people you can't trust. It's been an experience, that's for sure."

He sounded like a person who'd been through the mill. It's only going to get more intense especially if he plays well. I mean just consider the now famous photo of him with the girls and the bottle of wine. You think they were his best friends? Heck no.

Matt's just happy to get on with it. "All the questions that teams had, I answered when I met them. As far as the (lack of) arm strength, I answered that. As far as the lifestyle I had, I answered that. As far as them getting to know me as a person, I think I answered every question I could."

It's clear he's tired. He's ready for some football.

Here's the video of the press conference held today.


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