Garcia: 'I am the starting quarterback'
Quarterback Jeff Garcia, in his first day of training camp, said definitively this morning he feels his job is secure, adding that he will not obsess over rampant speculation linking the Bucs to Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre.
"I expect myself to be the leader out here with this team. I felt like I went out there and handled my business on the field (on Monday)."
Garcia missed the first two days of camp while he was attending a family event in Gilroy, Calif. He looked upbeat and sharp in his first day back.
As for speculation about Favre, Garcia did acknowledge the possibility and was aware of the rumors. But he hasn't allowed himself to get wrapped up in the story, he said.
"To be honest, the last few days for myself have been extremely busy and I haven't paid any attention to the TV or the radio or even the newspaper," Garcia said.
Garcia has not been given any assurance by coach Jon Gruden or general manager Bruce Allen that the Bucs are interested in Favre. But Garcia said his conversations with Gruden have given him no reason to second-guess his status.
If Favre does show up, Garcia said he is willing to fight for what he thinks is rightfully his.
"I know that I'm the starting quarterback here," he said. "If something changes, they either shift me out or it's going to be a battle. That's my attitude on it... Until somebody pulls my grip off of it, I'm here."
Garcia, despite a tumultuous offseason marked by a contract dispute with the team coupled with the latest Favre rumors, managed to find humor in it all. Asked why the Bucs always seem to be linked to available quarterbacks, Garcia responded with a slick quip.
"Jon Gruden loves quarterbacks," he said. "But he likes to date. He doesn't like to marry."
[Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia scrambles during afternoon practice drills. Brendan Fitterer, Times]