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For the third time in eight starts spanning six years, he had suffered a season-ending injury.
Leinart is out of football at the age of 31, his last professional dalliance a preseason stint with the Bills in 2013 -- E. Manuel, Kevin Kolb, Jeff Tuel, and Thad Lewis made the roster; Leinart did not.
I'm prepared to live my life." Think about that for a moment: Palmer, the first overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, younger than both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, was ready to never play football again at the age of 31. Bengals owner Mike Brown, who created his perpetual failure machine with nepotism and frugality, refused to accept free draft picks from a quarterback-starved league. And then, in Week 10 this year, he crumpled to the turf against the Rams without being touched, his ACL torn again.
It took Carson Palmer a decade to rebuild his career, and his resurgence didn't last a full season before he suffered the same injury that stole his potential in the first place.
What if he could have finished the 2011 season with the playoff-bound Texans?
Could Pete Carroll have resuscitated Leinart's career?
Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, and Mark Sanchez were the outstanding quarterbacks of the Pete Carroll era at USC.
And long before Matt Leinart or Todd Marinovich were first-round busts, the Chiefs used their top pick on Pete Beathard, who bounced around the NFL for a decade, never completing half of his passes in a season.His tenure in Cincinnati ended after the Bengals went 4-12 during the 2010 season, Palmer's eighth with the team. He was even better this year, winning each of his six starts as the Cardinals raced to the top of the NFC.Palmer stated that he'd rather retire at the age of 31 than play for the Bengals again: "I have million in the bank. I'll play it for the love of the game but that would have to be elsewhere. His 11 touchdown passes to three interceptions was the best ratio of his career.The pass is beautiful: a long parabolic arc that hits Chris Henry in stride on the right sideline for 66 yards.It is the first play of the 2006 Wild Card game against the Steelers, the longest pass play in Bengals playoff history, and the end of Palmer's short career as an elite pro quarterback.
After more than a year on the bench, Leinart earned a late-season start against the Jaguars in 2011 when Schaub injured his foot.