Garcia almost did not even make the roster in the summer but was able to make the team. He received NFL action for the first time after Steve Young suffered what would be his final concussion, and Garcia proceeded to split time that season with Steve Stenstrom.
Young and Stenstrom retired after the season, and the career of Jeff Garcia began.
Garcia would make the Pro Bowl in his first three full seasons as a starter. In 2000 and 2001, Garcia would lead the league in touchdowns. In 2002, he led the 49ers to the second biggest comeback in playoff history against the New York Giants.
All of that was quickly forgotten, however.
In 2003, his numbers declined. Although still a solid 20 TDs, 13 INT, and a quarterback rating of 80.1, his favorite target T.O. called for Tim Rattay to start. All of a sudden, he is cut by the San Fransisco 49ers looking to create cap space.
Garcia, partially benefited by Andy Reid's more balanced play calling, proceeded to help turn the Eagles season around winning his final five games to steal the NFC East crown.
The Eagles ultimately bowed out in the NFC Divisional Playoffs in a hard fought game to the New Orleans Saints.
Another year passed, so you know what that means, right?
That is correct. Garcia would be searching for another team. This time it was more understandable though because of his risen stock, and the fact that the Eagles already had a proven QB in Donovan McNabb.
This, however, was the first time the question was raised about whether Garcia got enough respect.
Garcia was signed in March 2007 by the last place Tampa Bay Buccaneers to compete for the starters job.
He made an immediate impact, posting the third highest QB rating in the NFL in 13 starts and throwing 13 TDs to only 4 INTs.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went from last to first place in the division before bowing in the first round to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. It was not flashy, but Jeff Garcia was very efficient.
He did not turn the ball over and made the Buccaneers a contender once again.
Just like in San Francisco, my oh my how quickly do memories go. Garcia threw a crucial interception at the end of their week one matchup in a tough loss to the New Orleans Saints. All of a sudden, he is demoted to third string.
Garcia would gain the starting job back after Brian Griese got injured in week four. It was announced later on ESPN's "First Take" that Garcia would remain the starter with a columnist, noting that head coach Jon Gruden was impressed by Jeff's ability to minimize turnovers.
Hey Gruden, did you take a nap all of last season?
I feel like I am taking crazy pills! Did you just now realize that Garcia rarely ever turns the ball over? You thought Griese would provide this error-free football as you relied on the running game.
It was infuriating to hear this.
Garcia's numbers in 2008 went slightly down. He still had twice as many TD, INTs, and a top-10 quarterback rating. The Buccaneers lost their final four games to finish 9-7 and out of the playoffs.
This was more due to Garcia being injured and the defense melting down.
Defense gave up over 30 points in each of the three games he started in that four game skid.
On Feb. 16, 2009, the Buccaneers told Garcia they do not want him to return for the following season. Garcia, 39, but has said he does not plan on retiring. He clearly has shown that he can still play.
So why is he still left unsigned? Surely there are teams out there that could use him.
What about the Minnesota Vikings? Nope, they went for the journeyman Sage Rosenfels instead, who has made 12 career NFL starts.
Buffalo released backup QB JP Losman, but they went for Ryan Fitzpatrick instead because...I don't know.
Fitzpatrick came from Cincinnati. We all know the injuries Carson Palmer has had, but the Bengals decided to go with J.T. O'Sullivan?
Dallas Cowboys? No, they opted to go with Jon Kitna instead. With a little bit of luck, Kitna might bring his regular season win total predictions with him.
Denver Broncos? Much rather have Chris Simms, who started in Tampa, before Garcia.
What about going back to the San Fransisco 49ers?
These are all possibilities, but alas Garcia still has no home.
Am I missing something here? What does Garcia have to prove? Would he not be useful for plenty of teams? Whose rear does he need to kiss?
Can someone explain to me why Jeff Garcia has no team, or why he gets no respect?
I feel like I am taking crazy pills!
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