Garcia excused for first weekend of camp
Quarterback Jeff Garcia will not report to training camp Friday or be in uniform this weekend.
Don't worry. It's not what you think.
Garcia, 38, has been excused by the Bucs to attend a reunion of players to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Gavilan College's 1973 national championship team in Gilroy, California.
The event was organized by his father, longtime coach Bob Garcia.
"He's going to go to those festivities,'' Allen said. "It's a weekend reunion.''
The Bucs' starter was given permission several weeks ago to attend the celebration, which will be held during the Garlic Festival in Gilroy July 25-27 and conflicts with the opening of training camp Friday in Lake Buena Vista.
"The topping on the cake was where Tampa let my son come,'' Bob Garcia told the Gilroy Dispatch.
Even with Garcia's absence, the Bucs will have no shortage of quarterbacks in camp. Tampa Bay has five on the roster -- Garcia, Brian Griese, Luke McCown, Chris Simms and rookie Josh Johnson. Simms, who missed the entire off-season workout program and mandatory minicamp, still plans to report Friday.
When Garcia does arrive in camp, he will undoubtedly face more questions about his lack of progress on a contract extension and speculation that the Bucs would be interested in Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre if the Packers decided to trade him.
But Garcia has earned some goodwill from the Bucs after leading the team to an NFC South title and earning a selection to the Pro Bowl last season.
Bob Garcia coached Gavilan College for 23 seasons. Before transferring to San Jose State, Jeff Garcia was the starting quarterback for Gavilan College in 1989. He earned junior college honorable mention All-America honors after throwing for 2,038 yards and 18 touchdowns as a freshman. He also rushed for 584 yards and four touchdowns.
[Jerry Hernandez wears a garlic-shaped hat as he listens to a live band at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, AP Photo]