COMMENTARY | Other than the preceding three days of practice, former Heisman winner Matt Leinart had been without a job for nearly eight months before taking the reins as the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback for Thursday's preseason finale against the Detroit Lions.
By Friday, he was once again unemployed.
The Bills released the 30-year-old Leinart, less than 24 hours after completing 3 of 10 attempts for 11 yards and two interceptions during a 35-13 loss at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
News of the release probably didn't catch Leinart by surprise.
"I will not sit here and make an excuse; I could have played better, and I didn't," Leinart said after Thursday's effort. "I was hoping to maybe get in there again in the second half and kind of redeem myself, but you can't turn the ball over in this league and expect to win. So, I mean, yeah, it's tough, but I was thankful to be here. We'll see what happens. After that performance, it can't be anything good, I wouldn't think."
Leinart, who was signed Sunday due to injuries to first-round pick E.J. Manuel and veteran Kevin Kolb, appeared in five series before giving way to fellow newcomer Thaddeus Lewis -- much to the delight of the announced crowd of 48,605 -- early in the second quarter.
Leinart's night came to a close after throwing his second interception, a deep pass intended for Marcus Easley that ended up in the hands of Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis. The Lions, starting from the Buffalo 23-yard line, scored on the very next play - -a run by Joique Bell -- making it 21-0.
"In fairness to both of those guys, they've been here for about 48 hours or 72 hours," said Bills head coach Doug Marrone, referring to Leinart and Lewis. "I think that they were thrown into a very difficult situation. You can sit here and say, 'You know what, it might not be fair,' but, for us, we've got to get those guys in there to give them reps to see what those guys are about, with the potential of making our team."
Lewis, who was acquired Monday in a trade with the Lions, completed seven of 16 attempts for 132 yards, 79 of which came on a touchdown pass to Easley. Lewis also ran the ball seven times for 51 yards.
Whether or not Manuel is ready to go Week 1, a Sept. 8 meeting with the New England Patriots, now that Leinart is out of the equation, Lewis has a decent shot at making the team's 53-man roster -- at least as temporary depth at the position.
"It's not a great situation, but it is an opportunity," Marrone said, again referring to the quarterback situation. "How fair it may be or how fair it may not be, the situation has dictated it."
The Bills have until 6 p.m. Saturday to trim the roster to 53 players.
All quotes in this story were obtained first-hand.
Charles Roberts covers the NFL's Buffalo Bills and the University at Buffalo football program as a credentialed member of the media. His work has appeared in several local and national print and online publications; he has also been called upon for radio spots.
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