The Jets quarterback competition will be between just two now. David Garrard -- the oft-injured veteran who planned to compete with Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith for the starting gig -- will retire from the NFL because of nagging knee issues, a source confirmed to Newsday Wednesday.
In a text message to SNY TV and SiriusXM radio host Adam Schein, Garrard, 35, explained his situation. "Having to call it quits," he wrote. "My knee is not holding up. Continuing to swell after practices. Limiting what I can do."
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Just a few weeks ago, however, he told reporters he hoped "politics" wouldn't factor into the decision as to who would start in Week 1. But now Garrard's tenure with the Jets appears to be over before it ever truly began.
Garrard -- a former Jaguar -- took off the 2011 season in order to recover from surgery on a herniated disc and signed as a backup quarterback with the Dolphins last offseason. But he was forced to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in August 2012 and subsequently was cut by the team less than a month later.
During his previous nine years in Jacksonville, the East Orange, N.J., native threw for 16,003 yards, 89 touchdowns and 54 interceptions. But after the Jags drafted quarterback Blaine Gabbert in 2011, Garrard was released.
Despite his injury history, the Jets signed the free agent to a one-year, $1-million deal in an attempt to bolster competition at the QB spot. Garrard, 35, joined quarterbacks Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms and Tim Tebow in Florham Park for the team's offseason program.
But after Tebow's post-draft release, and now Garrard's imminent departure, the Jets quarterback competition will now be between Sanchez and Smith, who was selected 39th overall last month.
Earlier in the day, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said on a conference call with season-ticket holders that there would be a "bona fide" competition between the quarterbacks.
"This is going to be a competition and the reps will be distributed regarding how they've played in recent past history," he said. "And typically there will be a player at every position when there's competition that will rise above and beyond the other players and hopefully that's quick."
That player will not be Garrard.
When he spoke earlier this month about his future with the Jets, Garrard seemed hopeful -- provided his health was no longer an issue.
"As long as I'm healthy, as long as I'm able to continue to work with the team and don't have setbacks with my knee or my back or anything like that," he said. "Then I know that I have the ability to [compete]."