Having already won the Heisman and back to back national champtionships, Leinart decided to return for his senior season. He probably would have been one of the top five picks in the draft. "I realized the opportunity right now to support my family by going to the NFL early, but to me I think college football and this whole atmosphere here being with my fans and my teammates ....is ultimately more satisfying and will make me happier than any amount of money could make someone happy. This was the toughest decision of my life. The money is not important to me. I realize the opportunities. My teammates and being here is more important to me right now...This is the greatest time of my life, being in L.A. I'm close to home. My family, my friends, everyone's here. I think that alone is motivation enough for me to come back." Indianaopolis Colts QB Peyton Manning, named the league's most valuable player this season after throwing an NFL record 49 touchdown passes, most likely would have been the No. 1 pick in the 97 draft, but returned for his senior season. He was drafted number one by the colts in 98. An NFL executive disagreed with Leinhart's decision: "To me, it's a no-brainer to come out early if you're going to be one of the top ten guys picked. He'd probably be number one. Now, would that change in a year? Probably not. But you just never know. Why risk it? There's too much money at stake. (Leinart was the 10th pick in the 06 draft)

— USC QB Matt Leinart  

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