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Still No Respect for Jeff Garcia

Is there any other player–outside of maybe Donovan McNabb–who gets more disrespect than former Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia?

There’s no question that Garcia is a sensitive guy–but you would be too if your job was consistently threatened despite your proven ability to play in the NFL.

Jeff Garcia Released...Again.

Jeff Garcia Released...Again.

First it was San Francisco.  Garcia came in after a great career by Steve Young and took over the reins of the team in 1999.  In 2000, Garcia exploded.  That year, he threw for 31 touchdowns and just ten intcerptions.  2001 wasn’t shabby, either, as Garcia threw 32 touchdowns, twelve interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 94.8.

During the 2002 playoffs, Garcia was instrumental in helping to lead the 49ers back from a 38-14 deficit in the third quarter.  The 49ers scored 25 unanswered points and went on to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Soon, the Garcia-T.O fued would heat up.  Owens, not liking Garcia for some unknown (but most likely) selfish reason, questioned Garcia’s sexuality.  Owens, discussing Garcia, stated, “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, chances are it’s probably a duck.”  Garcia would be incredulous, making public statements that he doesn’t know why Owens was bent on cutting him down so harshly.

Garcia would eventually land in Cleveland, where then head coach Butch Davis refused to let him roll out of the pocket and make audibles.  His time in Detroit was equally disappointing in 2005.

The next year, Garcia found himself in Philadelphia, where he was able to resurrect his career.  With McNabb suffering a devastating injury towards to end of the season, Garcia led his team through an improbable run of victories, and the team advanced farther than anyone thought they would in the playoffs.

But then Garcia was promptly released–the team didn’t even make an effort to sign him.  In fact, the Eagles signed Jay Feeley to a contract to be the team’s backup, thus throwing Garcia back into the unemployment line.

Garcia was eventually signed by Tampa Bay, but Jon Gruden’s love for playing “musical quarterbacks” lead to frustration for Garcia.  Garcia eventually stated publicly that his head coach didn’t like to marry quarterbacks, he just wanted to date them.

That was evident in Tampa Bay.  Garcia was routinely yanked out of the lineup in favor of other quarterbacks on the roster.

This past week, Garcia was once again released by yet another team.  At age 39, Garcia would like to still play and doesn’t have any plans for retirement.

But why is Garcia so disrespected?  If anything, his inability to stick onto a team reminds me of Doug Flutie’s NFL career.  Two small, scrambling quarterbacks who were never given any expectation of success.  And despite their ability to lead and to win, they are still discounted.  In Buffalo, Doug Flutie was pulled by Wade Phillips for the highly ineffective (and far too often sacked) Rob Johnson.

It could also be Garcia’s personality–he does seem like a sensitive guy.  It’s possible that he clashes with certain coaches or doesn’t take criticism very well.  But he’s proven that he can win in this league.  And in a league where quarterbacks such as Tarvaris Jackson, Derek Anderson, Brodie Croyle and Dan Orlovsky all started at some point last year, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Jeff Garcia doesn’t latch onto some team.

Somewhere.

February 18, 2009 - Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , ,

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