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Houston signed Leinart as a free agent just before the 2010 season, ending the former Southern Cal star’s stormy tenure in Arizona. Leinart, a former Heisman Trophy winner, was drafted 10th overall by the Cardinals in 2006, and played in 12 games as a rookie under coach Dennis Green.

Leinart broke his collarbone in 2007, Kurt Warner took over and Leinart mostly watched from the sideline over the next 2 1/2 seasons. Warner retired after the 2009 season, but Leinart clashed with Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt and he was released in September 2010.

He didn’t take a snap last season, but felt comfortable enough with Kubiak and the offense that he decided to rejoin to the Texans in the offseason.

“This isn’t his first rodeo,” Schaub said of his replacement. “He’s played some football in this league. He knows how to play the quarterback position.

“Our time spent together here over the last year and a half, two years, he’s definitely prepared.”

Their tutoring has restored some of the confidence he lost in Arizona.

“I’ve been around the league for a while,” Leinart said. “Obviously, I haven’t had a lot of playing time, but I’ve been around this game, I’ve played with some great quarterbacks, I’ve been on some winning teams. I understand what that takes, I understand what it takes to lead a football team.”

The Texans seem to believe in him, too. Other than Leinart throwing left-handed (Schaub throws right-handed), they don’t expect the offense to miss a beat.

“If it was a guy coming in and we had never seen a lefty all year, it might be different,” said tight end Owen Daniels, the team’s leading receiver. “But we’ve been catching passes from Matt (Leinart) all year, so it shouldn’t be an issue at all.”

The Texans were taking off the rest of the week. Leinart planned to relax and enjoy time at home with his 5-year-old son Cole. And after a mostly frustrating route through the NFL, when he returns to work on Monday, he’ll be a starter again at age 28.

“I believe my teammates believe in me and my coaches believe I can get the job done, and that goes a long way in this profession,” Leinart said. “And I believe in myself to get the job done. I’m excited just to be playing ball again. It’s been a long time, and it’s just a great situation to be a part of.”