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Leinart not worried about critics in first chance with Texans

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Matt Leinart is being given his shot at NFL redemption.

Leinart will be the Houston Texans' starting quarterback in their first game after their bye week -- Nov. 27 at Jacksonville -- because Matt Schaub is out indefinitely with what coach Gary Kubiak termed a "significant" right foot injury. The Texans still are evaluating the injury, meaning Leinart will make at least one start.

It's a welcomed development for Leinart, a 2006 first-round draft pick who washed out with the Arizona Cardinals before signing with the Texans last season. He didn't take a snap in 2010, but he turned down other offers to stay in Houston because he felt comfortable enough with Kubiak and quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp.

"I've had such a roller-coaster career, I guess you could say," Leinart told NFL Network on Tuesday. "I know a lot of guys aren't in my corner, I'm aware of that. It doesn't really bother me. I've just used that, I've always worked hard, thinking, 'Hopefully, someday I'll get a chance. I'll get my opportunity.' And that's here.

"I'm not going into these games (saying), 'Oh, I'm going to prove people wrong.' I'm going in there just to get back to what I know how to do, to get back to when I was playing and having fun. I'm in the best situation to do that, being here."

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Depending on what the Texans find out about Schaub next week, the job could be Leinart's for the rest of the season. He said he had dinner with Schaub on Monday night to go over details and try to make the transition as seamless as possible. He also made Schaub a promise.

"I told Matt that I was going to make him proud and just win games for this team," Leinart told The Associated Press, "because he got us to this point."

Given how the 7-3 Texans have run the ball and shut down opponents over the last month, Leinart doesn't believe he has to do anything miraculous.

"It's important for me not to feel like I have everything to put on my shoulders, and just go out there and manage the game," Leinart told The AP. "You look at the numbers in the last couple of games, Matt (Schaub) has just gotten us into the right plays, and he's thrown the ball here and there, and we've won the games the old-fashioned way."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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