Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
As of June 2012, Matt Leinart—the former Heisman winner (two-time finalist) and tenth overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft—is a bust.
But whether or not Leinart becomes the second coming of Jim Plunkett out in Oakland or joins JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch and Ryan Leaf as an all-time epic failure, I don't think the outlook many people have of him is entirely fair.
First, consider why people have started to label his play as bust-worthy: He lost his job as the Cardinals starting quarterback. But he didn't lose it to some no-name rookie or a mediocre journeyman. He lost it to Kurt Warner, who will soon have a place in Canton.
Granted, his bust status is much more warranted since he was unable to reclaim a starter's role in Arizona after Warner's retirement and had to find work elsewhere.
But there's more to the story of why people consider Leinart a failure of even greater proportions than much higher draft choices like the Rams' Jason Smith, the Jets' Vernon Gholston or the Jaguars' Derrick Harvey.
During his tumble from star status, Leinart was blasted for his work ethic, as pictures of him partying and drinking surfaced on the Internet on more than one occasion.
But is that really enough to entirely dismiss him as lazy and disinterested in being a great player? Remember when Ben Roethlisberger was photographed partying the week before the 2005 AFC Championship Game? He's managed to have pretty nice career, despite plenty of similar extra curricular activities.
The bottom line is that assuming a player is not a hard worker (or worse, doesn't care) just because of a few photographs is a real reach.