Of all the quarterbacks in the 2003 NFL Draft, Carson Palmer has lasted the longest as a player.
But the guy picked six spots after him, who is now his coach, might have a much longer run on the sidelines.
After the Bengals took Palmer first overall, Byron Leftwich was chosen seventh by the Jaguars. Near the end of his 10-year career as a player he was a Steelers backup, where Arians was his offensive coordinator.
Fast forward to Arizona, and Arians kept pestering Leftwich to join him, because he believes Leftwich has what it takes to lead a team.
“He’ll be a head coach early and fast,” Arians said, via Darren Urban of the team’s official website.
Leftwich said he needed to step away from football after retiring following the 2012 season. But Arians kept asking him to come work as an intern, and Leftwich finally relented last year. It didn’t take long for him to become the Cardinals’ quarterbacks coach, where he now works with Palmer on a daily basis.
“I played the game as if I was a coach,” Leftwich said. “I never really had the physical ability to run around. I could throw the ball, but I had to think my way through the whole time. I think [Arians] understood that and appreciated my knowledge, how much work I put into the game.”
Now, the 37-year-old Leftwich is working with a true peer, and working his way up the coaching ladder.