David Garrard is getting another chance at a starting quarterback job. Last August the former longtime Jaguars starting quarterback was confident that he would be the starter in Miami, but he went down with an unfortunate knee injury during the preseason.
The 35-year-old, who hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2010, is ready to compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting role and was assured he would be given a fair chance.
David Garrard joined 98.7 ESPN New York with The Mike Lupica Show featuring Don La Greca to discuss the condition of his knee, dealing with Hard Knocks chronicling his injuries during Dolphins’ training camp last year, competing for the starting quarterback job on the New York Jets and the Jets assuring him that he had a chance at the starting job.
How is the knee? Can the 35-year-old Garrard play like the 30-year-old Garrard?
“Absolutely, I feel great. I have been working out here for the past few months, rehabbing and everything, but once I got past that I have been on the field throwing the ball around with a buddy of mine down here and I feel great. I really do feel like I can get back to that condition that I was before in my earlier years, before my injuries, and that’s the real test, so I’m excited about the opportunity and I do believe I still have something left in the tank.”
How difficult was it to go through the trauma of the knee on Hard Knocks?
“It was tough because there were quite a few times I had to tell them, no I didn’t want to be on there. I had just battled back with my back, to now have to deal with a different injury and an injury where I didn’t get to be on the field or anything, it was tough. I knew I would eventually get over it and I just wanted to make sure that I got well enough where I could get back on the field ’cause I didn’t want injuries to take me out of being able to play football again. I wanted to finish my career on my own note and not because of injuries.”
So you have come here to be the starting quarterback of the New York Jets?
“Well I’ve come to compete. That’s all that I’m asking and I believe that’s how sports and football should be played. If they are going to give me the opportunity to compete for the starting job, I believe when I am healthy that I can play with the best of them, so I am going to give it all that I have and do the very best that I can. And if that is to be the starting quarterback, if that’s where it gets me, then that’s great. That’s why you play this game. You want to play on the field, so I’m going to do everything I can to get out there, but if that’s not where I finish then I am going to be the best teammate possible, too, because I have a lot of knowledge of this game. I have been playing for a long time, so whoever is out there throwing the ball around, I want to make sure that I can support that person if I have to, but first and foremost I am definitely going to compete and try to win the starting quarterback.”
Did the Jets assure you that you had a fair chance at being the starting quarterback?
“When I talked to everybody, I was given — without a doubt — the idea that I had every shot to be the starting quarterback. I took them at face value. I took them as genuine when they were telling me that. I didn’t think they were telling me the Jets were taking me in to help everybody else out. I felt like they were being very sincere. I am going to continue to take it as that. I am going to go out there and I always say that your abilities when you’re at practice and showing what you can do — when you get into preseason games and all that stuff — if you’re showing you are the best guy out there then it will happen for you. So as long as there are no other politics or anything, then the best guy will get out there and play and the cream will rise to the top, if you will. I’m happy with what they told me and I am very excited to be able to proceed and move forward with being back on a team, basically, and being able to get back on the field. That’s what I’m most excited about.”
Listen to David Garrard on 98.7 ESPN New York here [Interview starts at the 10:40 mark of the podcast]