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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Garcia fires back



Jeff Garcia says he is healthy enough to practice and play this week and disagrees with Jon Gruden's decision to bench him.

Garcia, 38, wore no special support for a sprained ankle he suffered in Sunday's 24-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

But he acknowledged that he could've played better in the season opener and vowed to correct his mistakes while getting his body healthy.

Veteran Brian Griese will start Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

""Right now, having only played one game, I would've liked the opportunity to battle through whatever I'm going through,'' Garcia said. ""But coach made that decision early in the week and I have to live with it.

"I understand in the game on Sunday, there were a couple plays I left out on the field. And I'm hard enough on myself to know that they could've been difference-makers in the game. I know I can turn that around, I can learn from whatever I didn't do. And I think there's been some things that unfortunately have piled up injury-wise that I don't like to bring to anybody's attention because I always feel I can fight through it, that I can always get through those things and not have them be a factor. Well, coach feels like there's some things that are factors, that are taken away from what I bring to the table. So right now, it's his decision.''

Garcia has struggled through some injuries. He said he injured his back early in the off-season. He suffered a right calf injury Aug. 31 that forced him to miss most of training camp and has a jammed pinkie finger on his throwing hand. Now the ankle.

"I've played through a lot worse before and that's not anything new,'' Garcia said.

"It's just one thing after another and I know everybody will say, hey, well he's old and he's running out of gas and this is what happens to old guys...all I can do is focus on getting better and being supportive.''

Emotionally, Garcia says he's tried to move on from the disappointments of the off-season, including the Bucs' failure to make up for a missed play-time incentive bonus and the team's attempts to trade for Brett Favre.      

""I can't continue to focus or dwell on things that aren't positive for this team and those things aren't positive because if I dwell on that, that takes away who I need to be for this team,'' Garcia said.

""I feel like I'm emotionally stable. I'm not a basket case. I'm not somebody who's going to take away what this team's focus is. I don't know if coach believes that because things that have stockpiled it has seemed and that maybe I have allowed to stockpile have taken away from the edge that I normally have on the field. If that's what he believes, if that's what he feels, I need to do my best to get that back and prove to him that it's there.''



[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:10pm]


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