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With Leinart Shelved, Focus Turns To Rookie Yates And Potential Veteran

By TERRANCE HARRIS, SportsRadio 610
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(credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

(credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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The news coming out of the Texans camp Monday was as somber as expected.

Quarterback Matt Leinart suffered a fractured left collarbone Sunday against Jacksonville in his first start since taking over for injured starter Matt Schaub. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Leinart will have surgery probably next week to repair his throwing shoulder.

“Very disappointed with his opportunity and what happened,” Kubiak said. “But we move forward from there.”

And for the foreseeable future that means rookie and former third-string quarterback T.J. Yates is the Texans starting quarterback and Kellen Clemens, who was just signed a week ago off the streets, is the backup for now.

Two weeks ago neither quarterback was even on the roster of the now 8-3 and AFC South-leading Texans. Kubiak said he will bring in one more quarterback, preferably someone with experience and he would not rule out former Green Bay Packer Brett Favre.

“The most important thing for me right now is moving forward with T.J. and Kellen,” said Kubiak, whose team is on a five-game winning streak and preparing to host Atlanta on Sunday at Reliant Stadium. “We will bring another guy in. That is something (general manager Rick Smith) and I have talked about. The options and when that will happen I don’t know. But my focus right now is strictly with T.J. and Kellen and moving forward with Atlanta and getting through yesterday’s game. We’ve talked about a lot of players.”

But the who who is foremost on everyone’s mind Monday seems to be Favre, who has been out of football all season after finishing stints with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings following his exit from Green Bay. Most around the NFL agree that convincing Favre to come out of retirement is a long shot, at best.

The more probable quarterback additions are veterans Jeff Garcia and Sage Rosenfels along with Chase Clement and Brodie Croyle. Garcia, Clement and Croyle were part of the group of five quarterbacks who came in last Monday for a workout when the Texans ultimately chose Clemens to backup Leinart and Yates.  Kubiak mentioned those three by name Monday when asked which of the five might be next in line to come aboard.

But rumors are swirling there could be a reunion with Rosenfels, who played in 10 games with the Texans over three seasons with the Texans. But bringing him back is complicated for a couple reasons. Rosenfels is currently with the Miami Dolphins but he is on the reserve/non-football injury list with a blood disorder that has plagued him since the summer when he was the New York Giants. The Dolphins would have to be willing to release Rosenfels in order for the Texans to sign him and that would be complicated. Rosenfels would have to clear waivers and it’s hard to imagine that if say Tennessee, which is right on the Texans heels in the division, would not sign Rosenfels if it had first shot at him just to prevent the Texans from landing a veteran who would give them an immediate boost.

But at this point, Kubiak seems open to any possibility that will land him a quality quarterback who is capable of taking over if Yates isn’t ready yet.

“I don’t think you rule out anybody,” he said. “A lot of names are being mentioned and we have to continue to work through the process. I’m not going to rule out anybody nor confirm anybody. I’m the guy who has got to stay focused on T.J. right now and the other stuff will be worked out.”

Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

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