The Kansas City Chiefs will face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday but for QB Matt Cassel and head coach Pete Carroll it's a little more than that. Cassel played under Carroll at USC and I use the word "played" lightly because Cassel didn't really play. He followed two Heisman Trophy winners -- Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart -- and never really got his chance.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talked for a few minutes at his weekly press conference about Cassel's workout session for NFL scouts -- or the 2005 USC pro day. Here is his version of the Matt-Cassel-getting-drafted story.
"There was a day when we had to decide between Matt Leinart and Matt Cassel in spring practice, it was coming from the spring game. I'm sitting there trying to figure out which way to go and both guys hadn't done very well in spring. It wasn't obvious in any direction so we go ahead with Leinart and Leinart says you'll never regret and Cassel was pissed (laughs). I don't blame him. What happened after that [was that] Matt Leinart won a lot of games and Matt Cassel never really got a chance.
"There was a day that came up that he finally did get his chance, and it's worth telling you. It was on timing day, a pro day at the school. All the workouts were done and Matt hadn't thrown yet and he was going to stage a throwing session and show the scouts what he could do. Fortunately, about half the representatives from the teams stayed.
"Matt put together a workout that was...perfect.
"He hit everything. Ripped the ball all around the field, every guy caught every pass, timing, rhythm, arm strength, energy through it and when the last throw was made, it's like the guys just swarmed him. All the guys just surrounded him and wanted to get his name and phone number and all that. Most guys hadn't even thought about anything was going to happen with this guy. Matt was fortunate that they stayed as a matter of fact.
"His family was over on the side, his Mom, and she was crying, because she could see after all these years of fighting, struggling, playing tight end, pitching on the baseball team and all the things Matt did to find some fun in his college career, he had his moment and he totally came through.
"The rest is -- getting drafted in the seventh round by New England -- is history.
"It's a marvelous statement about the kid, about who he is, never giving up and being a touch competitor and all that. So for us to be going head-to-head is something that's really an exciting thought for me to see him. I know he got his big contract last year and all that so I couldn't be more fired up for him and anxious to go ahead and play against him."