(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
CBS Sports' resident grouchy old man (and, truly, all around good guy) Pete Prisco has told me more than once that former Jaguars draft bust Byron Leftwich is one of the nicer people he knows in the NFL.
You all remember ole Byron, right? Leftwich has spent the last few seasons collecting paychecks as Ben Roethlisberger's back-up in Pittsburgh. Before that, the same knocks of laziness and uninspired play that defined his career in Jacksonville were "showcased" in Tampa Bay. Even though he's been given several chances to prove critics wrong, Leftwich was never a true starter in this league. Glorified back-up, and a mediocre one at that.
Maybe this is my Colts fandom skewing my objectivity. Maybe the lasting image of Leftwich whining like a baby as the Colts pass rush beat him senseless during a 2006 regular season game (culminating in Leftwich tastelessly giving the middle finger to the Colts coaching staff on live TV) has me biased against him. I don't know.
What I do know is that even though the team has shown interest, the Colts should not sign him as a potential back-up quarterback.
Overall, I like the strategy of bringing in more veteran back-ups. You think Jim Irsay wasn't scarred by the insanely stupid philosophy of the Polians, drafting chumps to back-up a franchise quarterback and basically admit that if that franchise quarterback got hurt, the season was meaningless? Yeah, no more of that.
I thought the trade for Drew Stanton made sense. Stanton, in many ways, is just like Leftwich, sans the past suggestions that he's lazy, stupid, uninspiring, etc. I wish I was making this up regarding Leftwich, but I'm not. He just wasn't worth a first round pick, and he's squandered lots of opportunities because he is consistently out of shape and doesn't do a helluva lot when he's on the field throwing a football.
Since the Colts traded for Stanton, and since it is so obvious that the Colts will draft Andrew Luck No. 1 overall they might as well start selling jerseys (oh wait, they have), why does this team need Cryin' Byron?
The only reason I can think of is that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who worked with Leftwich in Pittsburgh, wants "his guy" in camp to help Andrew Luck learn the offense. However, if you listen to former-Colts OC (and friend of Arians) Tom Moore, Luck doesn't need Leftwich to teach him anything:
Andrew Luck doesn’t need a mentor. I’ve never bought into the theory that you learn by watching. I think all that stuff is really overrated. Is he going to make mistakes? Yeah, who hasn’t? But I know Andrew’s a strong enough person that he’s going to handle the comparisons [to Manning], and he’ll handle it perfect."
So, again, I like the strategy of bringing in more veteran back-ups. However, I just don't think this franchise needs Leftwich. We already have Drew Stanton and Luck is on his way. We could add one or two more as warm bodies for camp and preseason, but that's it.