Raising Arizona?: For Green & Cardinals, Dreams Do Come True

By Eric Williams
Updated: May 2, 2006

PHILADELPHIA — After last the NFL draft, besides the New Orleans Saints, the Arizona Cardinals may have the luckiest – and happiest – front office personnel in the entire league.

Much like the Saints, who were pleasantly surprised to have Reggie Bush drop into their laps at No. 2 overall, the Cardinals couldn’t have envisioned a better scenario than having another former Heisman Trophy winner, USC’s Matt Leinart, fall all the way into their eagerly awaiting arms with the 10th pick of the first round.

Head coach Dennis Green summed up my feelings – and the Cardinals luck in landing Leinart – succinctly. “Lo and behold, we got the guy we wanted,” coach Dennis Green said. “We’re excited. We really look at this as a gift.”

This offseason, the Cardinals signed starting quarterback Kurt Warner through 2008 but they have been looking for a backup who could take over the position when Warner retires.

Warner, who turns 35 in June, hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2001, so it is more than possible that Leinart could see action this season.

No matter when Leinart eventually takes over as the Cards starter, Green knows Arizona could be the luckiest team in the draft.

He is a guy that wins on the field and he is a guy that inspires his teammates,” Green said. As for Leinart himself, he didn’t seem to care where he ended up as long as the wait is over.

“I’m just happy to get it over with,” Leinart told ESPN. “It’s a huge sigh of relief. It’s a great offense. I’m so excited to be an Arizona Cardinal.”

The Cards, who now have added explosive running back, Edgerrin James to go along with talented wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald should have a much improved offense under Green, one of the game’s best offensive minds.

Who knows? In another season or two, the Cards could actually become, (gulp) winners for the first time since Jim Hart hung up his cleats over two decades ago.