In his heart, David Garrard knew his knee couldn’t take him where he wanted to go. And after months of wishful thinking, the 35-year-old quarterback had to call it quits.
“My knee just never really quite got back to, not to where it was before but not even just well enough to,” he said Thursday afternoon during an interview on “SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It was well enough to get out and run around and stuff but it would still swell on me. I thought, ‘I look pretty good right now. Maybe if I get on with the team, the treatment that they have there, the round-the-clock treatments you pretty much get, that should probably help me out.’
“When it was healthy, when I was able to go out and participate in practice and run around, I mean, I looked great. I was excited and ready to go. But then, I’d get four or five days of good work on it in and then the next two days it is swollen and I have to do everything I can to get the swelling out. Start the next week over and it would just be the same process every time. And so it was never just allowing me to just go on and just play without any worries.
“So I just kept thinking, ‘How am I going to compete for the starting job if every four days I’ve got to stop and have an ice bag on my knee while the guys are practicing?’”
His sudden departure from the team – just as the quarterback competition was set to get underway – surprised his teammates. And now, it leaves Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith as the front-runners in the now four-QB race.
Garrard, who was signed to a one-year free-agent deal this offseason, said Smith’s second-round selection last month “wasn’t an issue at all” in his decision. “It was really just my knee and my health,” he said.
Though Garrard’s time around Smith was brief, he thinks the rookie QB is “definitely heading in the right direction.
“…I believe he has that confidence, he has that swagger, he has those intangibles, what it takes to be able to get the job done if his number is called. I have confidence in him but, like I said, I wasn’t there long enough to really see everything,” he said, noting that he was impressed with Smith’s performance while at West Virginia. “…I think he can get it done if he just really applies himself and doesn’t try to live up to the whole New York hype and all that stuff. Just put your nose to the ground and just grind. Don’t try to be the celebrity guy. Don’t try to be all that. Just go out there and be a football player and that will get you all those things in the end.”
When asked about his future plans, Garrard said the Jets offered him an internship during training camp. He’s also interested in possibly pursuing radio or broadcast media.
“The future is still bright,” he said, adding that he is close to finishing up his college degree. “I’ve just got to kind of take my time and decide on what I really want to get down and do.”