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Matt Leinart says he deserves to start for Raiders this week

December 28, 2012|By Sam Farmer
  • Raiders quarterback Matt Leinart got a rare chance to play Sunday against the Panthers.
Raiders quarterback Matt Leinart got a rare chance to play Sunday against… (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images )

Matt Leinart has only started two games since 2007, but the  Heisman Trophy winner from USC says it’s time for him to get his chance with the Oakland Raiders.

"I think I deserve to play, I deserve to start, not sure what's going to happen, but that's all you can do -- just keep preparing, keep working hard, be here, be accountable and whatever happens, whatever decision is made, that's what's made," Leinart told reporters Thursday, during a break from preparations for Sunday’s finale against San Diego. "If they want to start Terrelle [Pryor] and evaluate him and see what he can do, then I'll support that and I'll help him this week and help him during the game. But if they make me the starter and stuff, I'm just going to go out there and try to capitalize on that opportunity."

Leinart has been splitting reps this week with Pryor. Raiders Coach Dennis Allen has yet to name a starter to replace Carson Palmer, who is sidelined with cracked ribs and a bruised lung.

The Raiders signed Leinart this off-season. He had thrown just one pass before stepping in for the injured Palmer in the first quarter of last Sunday’s 17-6 loss at Carolina. Leinart completed 16 of 32 passes for 115 yards, no touchdowns and one interception for a 45.7 passer rating.

"I still feel I have a lot to prove at this point of my career," Leinart said. "No matter what the naysayers say, I do feel like I still can play. I do feel like that, and I think I'll play like that until the day I retire. But you're only given so many opportunities in this league. That's why this weekend would be awesome."

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