Who says there is no intensity in the preseason? Certainly not Matt Leinart who was roughed up in his unceremonious NFL homecoming last week in Arizona.
Leinart left the Raiders second preseason game with a finger injury but at the time that seemed the least of Oakland’s concerns for their backup QB. Cardinals’ defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin laid a lick on Leinart that came far too close to the head leaving the former Trojan dazed. Leinart would be carted off the field seemingly suffering a concussion.
In the end it was a digit on Leinart’s non-throwing hand that got the worst of the collision. However it’s Lumpkin’s checkbook that took the biggest hit.
Having spent last season on the practice squad in Arizona, Lumpkin is no doubt hungry to make the 53-man. Perhaps a little too overzealous, Lumpkin’s shot on Leinart will cost him $21,000. That might be chump change to a lot of NFLers but for a guy trying to earn the league minimum it represents a large chunk of a check he doesn’t even have.
So next time you get on your high horse about how much money these guys make keep in mind that jobs are on the line in the preseason. They might be high paying jobs but we’re talking about a line of work for which there are a finite amount of opportunities. Lumpkin’s desire to earn a fulltime football gig might just have written a check his account can’t cash but it will be well worth it if he gets the job. At least until the league starts collection on what he owes it will be.