Philadelphia Eagles’ fans said goodbye to veteran quarterback Jeff Garcia, on March 3, who took the starting position after Donovan McNabb went down for the season and led them to a National Football Conference East Championship and straight into the playoffs. Garcia can now call himself a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
After word got out that the Eagles were not going to sign Garcia and instead sign A.J. Feeley to a three-year contract extension, Tampa Bay jumped at the chance. This decision by the Eagles came as a surprise to many due to Garcia’s 5-1 record and their playoff berth. Not only did Tampa Bay get their one wish, but the Bucs’ worked out a trade to acquire yet another quarterback Jake Plummer from the Denver Broncos.
Garcia, proving himself last season, was looked at by other teams such as the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos. The 37-year-old believes he still has much more in his gas tank and does not want critics to think that he is too old for the job. Garcia said, “Throw age out the window because that’s not how I play. That’s not how I focus. That’s not how I mentally prepare. That’s not who I am.”
Coach of the Buccaneers Jon Gruden has strong feelings for Garcia as well. Because he and his staff aren’t sure that they are ready to hand Bucs’ quarterback Chris Simms the No. 1 job yet, they want to see what Garcia has to offer the offense.
In 99 games, including 92 starts, Garcia has completed 1,811 of 2,972 passes for 20,385 yards and 136 touchdowns. With an efficiency rating of 86.4, he has thrown for more than 2,500 yards five times in his career according to ESPN.com.
Eagles’ quarterback McNabb said, “I’m happy for him. I think it will be a good fit. I think he’ll be fine.”
Garcia believes he will be fine as well. “I signed to compete and I do want to start,” Garcia said.