The New York Jets' oft-discussed five-man quarterback battle is now down to four.
QB David Garrard told 2 players he no longer plans to be with the #Jets, per sources. Nothing official from team. Unclear if cut/retired— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 15, 2013
UPDATE: Thursday, May 16th, at 1:25 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo
David Garrard spoke to Michael J. Fensom of The Star Ledger about Geno Smith:
"Geno Smith has a certain swagger and confidence and will have to go out and earn the starting job in New York."
The report also features this quote from Garrard on the status of his knee:
"My knee never got back to the point where I could go out and be fully healthy and compete."
---End of update---
While nothing has been officially announced at this juncture, a text sent from Garrard to Adam Schein of Sirius XM makes it sound like the signal-caller is retiring:
Text from Garrard: "Having to call it quits. My knee is not holding up. Continuing to swell after practices. Limiting what I can do."— Adam Schein (@AdamSchein) May 15, 2013
It seems like Garrard is waiting to make an official announcement until he can re-sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, likely for a one-day contract, per Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle:
I texted David Garrard to ask if he was planning to retire a Jaguar. His reply: "U know it. Jags"— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) May 15, 2013
Garrard has been battling injuries over the past few seasons, but the timing of this impending announcement comes as a shock. After signing with New York this offseason, Garrard was expected to be a major player in the team's quarterback battle that also includes Mark Sanchez, rookie Geno Smith, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms.
Teams can only carry three signal-callers on their active roster, so a departure from at least one of the four main competitors—Simms is more tertiary—was expected sometime between now and the beginning of the season.
Garrard was the Jets' most experienced passer and has a Pro Bowl appearance under his belt, but he was considered a relative long shot to win the starting job. As noted by Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, Garrard's departure may help clear up the Jets quarterback situation:
Garrard was always a long shot to make it to Week 1, much less start. But it makes it tougher to dump Sanchez.— gregg rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) May 15, 2013
Jets implications aside, this news is just more of the same for Garrard. The 35-year-old quarterback's career has been placed on hold over the past couple of seasons due to injuries—this time it's just for good.
Garrard spent nine seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2002 to 2010, emerging as the team's franchise guy under center for his last five seasons. He threw for a total of 16,003 yards and 89 touchdowns against just 54 interceptions en route to compiling a 85.8 career quarterback rating with the team.
A dual-threat quarterback out of the backfield, Garrard also accounted for 1,746 yards and 17 touchdowns as a rusher. He was released by the Jaguars in 2011 after the team drafted Blaine Gabbert as its quarterback of the future.
Though he had received interest from teams after being let go by the Jaguars, Garrard's knee injuries continually kept him off the field. He missed each of the past two seasons due to injuries, including last year, when he was expected to compete for a starting job with the Miami Dolphins.
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