The Jaguars released quarterback David Garrard Tuesday, a stunning move that will save the franchise $9 million this season.
Team owner Wayne Weaver has said Jacksonville must make the playoffs for Del Rio to return for a 10th season.
Del Rio made it clear late last season that he had grown tired of Garrard's inconsistency, but the coach remained steadfast through training camp and preseason that Garrard was his starter.
"He just couldn't get it going," said Del Rio, who added that the team didn't try to trade Garrard.
"I had met with him a couple of weeks ago and brought him in and said, 'Hey, listen, you're my guy. I need you to get it going.' He was given every opportunity. He was somewhat apologetic that he wasn't able to deliver."
Garrard didn't return phone or text messages seeking comment, but he thanked Jaguars fans on Twitter.
He was average the last three years, with 53 touchdown passes and 38 interceptions.
Garrard was hit repeatedly in last week's preseason finale against the Rams and had an animated exchange with his offensive line on the sideline. That, too, had become an issue, with Garrard pointing the finger more often than taking the blame.
Around the league
Multiple reports said the Patriots released cornerback Darius Butler, who confirmed it on his Twitter account . . . The 49ers signed former Ravens linebacker Tavares Gooden to a one-year deal . . . Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said contract talks with running back Matt Forte are off until after the season. -- AP