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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Bushwhacked Update

It’s official. Reggie Bush is out. Mario Williams is in as the No. 1 pick.
Something tells me Bush might part ways with agent Joel Segal soon the way negotiations got botched with the Houston Texans.
Not a good week for Bush, obviously.
I’m told the drop just cost Bush at least $8 million.

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Bushwhacked?

The NFL is abuzz this afternoon with talk the Houston Texans are close to wrapping up a deal with defensive end Mario Williams because they are tired of stalled negotiations with Reggie Bush’s advisors.
Either this is an elaborate smokescreen or the end of a terrible week for Bush. For months he’s talked about playing in Houston, and the favorable tax situation in Texas.
Now he might be playing in New Orleans. Stay tuned.

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Draft Dilemma

The Tennessee Titans own the No. 3 pick in the draft and are currently grappling with a dilemma over USC quarterback Matt Leinart. Titans management is worried Leinart has “gone Hollywood and will not be committed to football.
Its the only thing keeping them from taking Leinart over Texas quarterback Vince Young. Whats interesting is that if Tennessee passes, Leinart could start falling.
But Titans coach Jeff Fisher and offensive coordinator Norm Chow prefer Leinart, so it will be interesting to see what actually happens.

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So Where Are We Now?

Whats the latest with USC quarterback Mark Sanchez?
A knowledgeable USC source given an opportunity to glance at the facts of the alleged sexual assault said his/her initial impression was that Sanchez had pretty good case. Thats not a prediction of what will happen, merely an opinion of someone with expertise in these matters.
Another factor I alluded to last night is that several witnesses could emerge that will bolster Sanchezs version of events. That would be in addition to what Sanchezs roommate, linebacker Brian Cushing, says happened in the apartment.
None of this is meant to exonerate Sanchez, just giving a little insight into what Im hearing.

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Suspension No Problem

That “interim suspension” penalty thrown at quarterback Mark Sanchez turned out to be a minor inconvenience because Sanchez will be allowed to take final exams next week.
There were concerns if the suspension forced Sanchez to miss finals, he might not be eligible for next season.

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