Wednesday, November 14, 2007
346 Miles, that is the total distance between Jacksonville, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. This is the distance Byron Leftwich traveled this season to enter a new stage in his career, or so he thought. In reality Leftwich was simply changing addresses, conferences, and jersey colors to experience the same old story.
2005: Leftwich starts the first 10 games of the Jaguars season leading them to a record of 7-3. All was looking up for the developing Leftwich until an Adrian Wilson sack and a broken ankle in the first play of game 11. Insert David Garrard. After taking over for Leftwich in game 11, Garrard led the Jaguars to a 5-1 finish. Despite the finish and the play of Garrard, Leftwich was named the starter when he returned for the Jaguars playoffs loss.
2006: Despite a mild Quarterback Controversy going into the season Leftwich was again named the starter. He started the teams first 6 games until suffering a season ending ankle injury against the Houston Texans in game 6. Garrard then substituted yet again, and got off to another hot start. The Jaguars, with Garrard under center, won their next two games and 5 of their next 7. However, in the month of December the Jaguars stumbled losing their last three. As a result in February, Leftwich received another vote of confidence and was named the Jaguars starter by Jack Del Rio.
2007: After being cut by the Jaguars and signed by the Falcons after week 2, Leftwich for the first time waited patiently as a backup. After Joey Harrington's struggles through 6 weeks Leftwich was named the starter for the Atlanta Falcons. During the course of the week 7 game against the Saints, Leftwich was again hampered with a leg injury and was removed from the game. The following two weeks Joey Harrington led the Falcons to their 2nd and 3rd wins of the season. Despite these wins, the old story has held true, Coach Bobby Patrino has stated that when healthy Byron Leftwich is the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.
Maybe 346 miles just wasn't far enough for Byron to remove himself from the reoccurring story of his career. Get Injured, Watch the Backup Win, Rehab and Regain Starting Position is simply the way of life for Byron Leftwich.