Chow said Leinart also battled an image problem, which didn’t help his transition into the professional ranks. A couple of photos of Leinart partying early on in his NFL career made the rounds on the Internet, and created a perception in some quarters that he wasn’t completely serious about football.
“I think he had a bad rap of being a Hollywood guy, which was not him,” Chow said. “Everybody likes to have fun. But Matt has always been a dedicated and determined guy.
“I have spoken to him through the years. He pointed out to me that for some reason he and the Cardinals were not a good mix. He told me that from the start. When he went to Houston, I think he just had some really bad luck. I’m surprised he hasn’t done more in his career. He’s a tremendous competitor, and as smart as the day is long. He’s everything you’d want in a quarterback.”
That is, with one possible exception: a cannon. “His arm strength is not bad,” Chow said. “It’s not great. But not bad.”
As Young and Leinart continue to pursue the success in the NFL that seemed destined for them during their college days, they’ll always have that night at the Rose Bowl as a reminder of when they were at the peak of their football powers.
“A lot of people still talk about it,” Young said. “I try to answer questions as much as I can.”
And occasionally, he’ll bump into his old rival. “Oh yeah. We talk when we get a chance,” Young said. “I’ve been to his bowling tournaments in L.A. We always had that type of respect for each other. Hopefully he’ll get an opportunity as well.”
Said Leinart: “We’ll always have that thing, we’ll always be tied together by the fact that we played in that game. He’ll always be a good friend.”
Michael Ventre is a regular contributor to NBCSports.com. Follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/MichaelVentre44
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