What Drop?

Those around the USC football program are a little astonished at reports quarterback Matt Leinart lost as much as $40 million by not turning pro a year ago.
What a lot of people forget is Leinart needed elbow surgery and also needed treatment for a sports hernia, that made workouts for pro teams almost impossible last spring.
“He wasn’t going to be the first guy drafted,” a USC source told me. “He didn’t fall. It’s just the media that thinks now he would be the first guy. That simply wasn’t the case.”

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A Couple Winners

If someone bet you in January that defensive end Frostee Rucker and tight end Dominique Byrd would be drafted ahead of safety Darnell Bing, would you have taken it?
Rucker and Byrd were the big winners Saturday, selected in the third round by the Bengals and Rams, respectively. Byrd overcame the fact he was almost a forgotten part of USC’s offense last season and had a history of injuries.
The big question today is where Bing will get drafted? Today reminded me that when Bing was a senior in high school, USC coach Pete Carroll thought he was perhaps the best NFL prospect of his recruiting class. Maybe the NFL needs to adopt the NBA’s policy of allowing players to turn pro without signing with an agent.
Also don’t forget offensive lineman Fred Matua. Personally, I’m rooting for a team to take a chance on cornerback Justin Wyatt, one of the nicest guys on the team.

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Self-Inflicted Wound

The slide we alluded to in “Draft Dilemma” yesterday is on with former USC quarterback Matt Leinart. While everyone knows Leinart fired his agent Leigh Steinberg a few weeks ago, no one really reported that one of Steinberg’s partners is former NFL star quarterback Warren Moon.
Well, Titans GM Floyd Reese was an executive with the Houston Oilers when Moon played there. Reese respects Moon. With Moon’s backing, Reese could be convinced to take Leinart over Vince Young.
But Leinart jettisoned Moon and Steinberg to be fully represented by talent agency CAA. If Leinart falls all the way to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 10, firing Moon cost him about $10-12 million.

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More Bad News

The week from hell for USC’s football program continues tomorrow, when another piece of bad news emerges regarding a former player. Full details will be in tomorrow’s Daily News and dailynews.com

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