Florham Park, NJ – As the media huddled around his locker David Garrard left to get one thing. He came back wearing a shirt that read “Some Things Just Don’t Retire.” He got it before he decided to come back, and couldn’t help but wear it on his first day back.
Garrard retired during minicamp because his knee wasn’t able to hold up through practice.
“When I left, I knew I just needed time to get away, and let my body heal up,” said Garrard. “My knee was truly bothering me. I just took the whole summer and relaxed. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do any kind of conditioning.”
But after months of retirement, Garrard got the itch to play again.
“I don’t want to turn 50 one day and think back and say, ‘what if I just called somebody,’” said Garrard.
Garrard starting working out again when he returned home to Jacksonville in August, mostly just to stay in shape. He went on runs of three miles and noticed his knee wasn’t bothering him. Then he played some football.
“My wife plays flag football,” said Garrard. “She’s a quarterback so she needs somebody to throw to, and I go out there and run routes for her. That told me I could do it because not many quarterbacks are running routes and that kind of stuff. You have the cutting and the stopping, and the running long sprints, so I knew if I could do that for every day for the past month, I knew I could at least attempt to get back out there and see how things go.”
That doesn’t mean Garrard has been given a spot yet.
“It’s a two game trial,” said Rex Ryan. “There have not been any guarantees or promises.”
He has been put on the exempt list, which gives him two weeks to convince the Jets brass that he is healthy enough to be on the active roster.
“I’m not looking at it like that, I’m looking at it as I’m on the team till they tell me otherwise,” added Garrard.
Coming off of Geno’s best performance as a pro, Garrard recognizes he won’t be competing with Smith for the starting job.
“Geno has the job,” explained Garrard. “If my number is ever called I need to be ready for that. So my thing is just to help these guys out, and just be a leader as much as I can in the locker room, and as much of a mentor and a leader as I can in the quarterback room.”
And the veteran has been impressed with what he’s seen so far.
“[Smith] played outstanding,” said Garrard. “Early on you’re going to have some rookie things you have to get over, but to be able to bring the team back in the games that he has is outstanding.”
If Garrard can prove he is healthy, he can be the veteran mentor the Jets were hoping for when they originally signed him during free agency.
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