David Garrard said he would have been fine joining a team as a backup quarterback. But when he saw an opportunity to compete for the Jets' starting gig, he had to take a shot.

"They just told me that I have a chance to compete for a starting job," Garrard, 35, said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. "That's what was told to me. They all seemed to be very genuine with it. They didn't seem to [think], 'Let's just say this to him, so we can get him here and slot him into [a reserve role].' I didn't feel that. That's how it was presented to me and that's how I still feel."

Despite offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's comments about incumbent Mark Sanchez having "a slight leg up" in the QB competition, Garrard believes he'll have a fair shot at the starting job.

"It's a new system for all of us, so we all are starting that way," the former Jaguars and Dolphins quarterback said. "I can't really speak to any advantages other than that he knows all the guys there . . . I just know that all I can do is go out, have fun and try to help to make the team better."

Though he hasn't played in the NFL since 2010 because of a herniated disc and knee surgery, Garrard said his knee is "great" and joked that he's not worried about taking any hits because he's as big as most defensive players, except linemen. When questioned about his mobility, he said: "If I have to get a first down, I can."

Garrard had nothing but positive things to say about Sanchez, whom he bumped into at the Jets' training facility during his workout two weeks ago. "This game is all about competition," Garrard said, adding that if Sanchez outperforms him, he'll support the incumbent quarterback. "I understand that and I think he does, too."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Despite the many questions surrounding the Jets roster, particularly on offense, Garrard -- a New Jersey native -- called his new team "a good fit."

"Just being out of the league a couple years, I just wanted to be a part of an organization, get back in the league," he said. "I didn't have a problem with going somewhere and possibly being a backup if that was the role that a team wanted me to be in. But when I saw an opportunity to be able to compete for a job, I thought that was good for me and my family. I've seen the Jets from afar and growing up in Plainfield, N.J., for a little while, I know a little bit about the organization and what they believe in."

Asked if he expects to win the Jets' starting job, Garrard said: "I just expect to go out and compete and try to help the team in any way possible."