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PHOENIX -- A year ago, new Aggie head football coach Gary Andersen had this statement for then-BYU quarterback Max Hall: "Max Hall is a very good quarterback. He'll probably play in the league [NFL] as long as he wants to."
Many thought this was typical exaggeration from the opposing head coach. Little did we laymen know that Andersen was being genuine. Where the casual observer saw Max Hall as undersized -- generously listed at 6 feet 1 inch and 200 pounds -- and lacking a great arm, Andersen saw a poised, confident and intelligent quarterback that had a penchant for making big football plays.
The deadline for NFL final cuts this year was Sept. 4, and among those getting the axe was past-Heisman trophy winner Matt Leinart, who was let go by the Arizona Cardinals.
While cuts may have been unkind to Leinart, this was great news for Hall, who has gone from being an undrafted free agent to the Cardinals' number-two man behind starter Derek Anderson.
Hall is very pleased with the chance to prove himself and feels the Cardinals gave him a "very fair shot" at the back-up position.
"[The Cardinals] gave me an opportunity and I felt like I took advantage of it and played well," Hall said. "I think I've worked hard to show that I'm capable of doing it and I want to keep getting better and stay here."
While Hall realizes he has a long way to go to be a successful starter in the NFL, he feels comfortable as a back up and plans to utilize the opportunities he has to play to prepare for a future in the league.
And though the Cardinals' decision to cut Leinart may come as a surprise to many, NBC analyst Peter King thinks Max's "rapid development" actually cost Leinart his job.
"This is as much Max Hall as it is Leinart," said King, "Hall... has been the best quarterback of the four [Arizona] quarterbacks in training camp."
The question remains, will this first step into the NFL turn into the marathon that Gary Andersen predicted?