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Garrard opens up about his 'emotional roller coaster' in SI

David Garrard during the Jets open locker room.

David Garrard during the Jets open locker room. (Patrick E. McCarthy) (Credit: David Garrard during the Jets open locker room. (Patrick E. McCarthy) )

David Garrard’s journey to becoming a starting quarterback -- once again -- was cut short last week.

The 35-year-old – who had expected to be the starter in Jacksonville during the 2011 season, and then again in 2012 with the Dolphins – was forced to call it quits in Florham Park due to lingering knee pain.

During a phone interview with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Garrard said he was heartbroken by the unfortunate turn of events over the past three years.

“Absolutely,” he told King, from Florida. “How could I not be? Talk about an emotional roller coaster in the last couple of years. I experienced the highest of highs, thinking I was going to play for all three teams. Then I was down and out.”

Garrard, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last year, was signed to a one-year, $1-million free-agent deal by the Jets this offseason. He was expected to enter camp as bonafide competition for incumbent Mark Sanchez and rookie QB Geno Smith. But, according to King, Garrard’s “balky knee kept ballooning after even slightly strenuous workouts.” Unable to withstand the pain, the veteran QB decided to walk away from the NFL.

“You always hear, ‘Play 'til the wheels fall off,’” he said. “Not me. I've got a wife and three beautiful kids who rely on me. I want to be there for them, and as healthy as I can be. I knew if I kept trying to play, it wouldn't end well. I knew it was going to come to an end sometime -- now is just earlier than I thought. But it's tough.

“…I was excited to be able to work with Geno and Mark. I knew I was going to play great. I knew I would have proven I was a good starting quarterback in the NFL.”

During a SiriusXM NFL radio interview last week, Garrard said his “future is still bright,” adding that the Jets offered him an internship during training camp.

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