Byron Leftwich embracing role as Cardinals coaching intern

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Byron Leftwich felt like an assistant coach during his years as a backup quarterback in the NFL.

But now he officially owns the title.

Leftwich is one of the Arizona Cardinals' coaching interns, focusing on his specialty, quarterbacks. He began working on the field with the Cardinals' quarterbacks during rookie minicamp and will continue through training camp.

"I was a backup quarterback, and a lot of the time you’re kind of a coach, you’re kind of in on the preparation and the things you need to do to help the main guy get ready," Leftwich said. "It’s the same stuff, just trying to help guys be ready, help guys make plays.

"The only difference is I don’t throw the ball, I don’t hand it off, I don’t call no plays. I’m learning what I can, and it’s exciting. It’s what I thought it would be and it’s fun to be doing."

Leftwich’s nine-year career ended in 2012 after stints with Jacksonville, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. It was with the Steelers in 2008 and again in 2010 that Leftwich played for Arians, who was their offensive coordinator at the time.

He’s the latest former Steeler Arians has hired, joining inside linebackers coach Larry Foote and assistant outside linebackers coach Levon Kirkland.

This is Leftwich’s first coaching experience, aside from working with his former high school, he joked. But the transition to the other side has been easy.

"It’s just like riding a bike," Leftwich said. "It’s great to get back into it. I love it. I love having the opportunity to work with and learn more and more from B.A. every day, and to get an opportunity to be in the quarterbacks room and learn from the guys and help when I can."