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Respect not a given for Matt Leinart in locker room

QB will have to earn it in his fifth season Brad Biggs

Print This April 07, 2010, 10:14 PM EST

Matt Leinart has some proving to do and his work is going to start in the Cardinals locker room.

Arizona is turning over the keys of the offense after he pretty much backed up Kurt Warner for four seasons, getting 17 starts in that time.

Just because the team is being turned over to Leinart doesn’t mean the respect of his peers is there. Not yet.

“He definitely has to earn it,” veteran safety Adrian Wilson said this afternoon on XTRA 910 in Phoenix. “He’s played in some games early on in his career but I don’t think he’s played in games where he knew he was the guy 100 percent. Now, he’s the guy 100 percent and quarterbacks have to win over locker rooms. That’s just the way it is. You’re not going to come in there being the 10th pick of the whole draft and guys are going to respect you automatically.

“You have to show guys that you deserve to be that 10th pick. It’s a different kind of level, the people upstairs think you’re the 10th pick but when you come to the locker room it’s a different precedent and different director of scouting you have to impress. Matt understands that and understands the job at hand and how tough it will be for him. It’s going to be tough but I believe he is definitely willing to go out there and work and really prove he is the guy who can lead us back to where we want to get to.”

Certainly work ethic and commitment are things that have been questioned with Leinart in the past. His contract explodes going into 2011 so he’s going to have a one-season trial to determine if he’s the future of the Cardinals franchise. He’ll need to work to earn that respect in the locker room quickly.

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