Jeff Garcia's at it again
Just when you thought quarterback Jeff Garcia was done making public comments about his contract dispute with the Bucs, he ratcheted up the rhetoric today in an interview with Sirius NFL Radio.
According to excerpts provided to us by the network, Garcia told hosts Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan that he might resort to drastic options -- retirement? -- if he and the team can't come to terms on a deal.
"It would be really difficult for me to go through the season and not have something done," Garcia said. "I would really like to see the appreciation put out there.
"For me to go into this season and if it doesn't work itself out, if a contract is not presented as far as a renewal and a chance to finish my career here, then I will seriously think about . . . what my alternate options may be. It may come to not even playing football anymore. And I'd hate to even say that, but I feel like when you mistreat people there comes a time when it doesn't matter how much money you're going to be paid. If you're not being treated the right way it's going to lead to some drastic decisions and those decisions may just take me away from the game."
For what it's worth, we at the Times heard long ago that Garcia was making such claims in conversations with his teammates. But it being second-hand information, we didn't throw it out there. Now that he has broached the subject himself, perhaps there is some credence to this.
Garcia has to be enjoying the ride as the unquestioned starter in Tampa Bay after several rocky seasons elsewhere. But he also seems to be driven by principle, so who knows if that's enough to convince him to respond radically to the team's reluctance to increase his salary?
Garcia is slated to earn $2-million in base salary this fall, a paltry figure when compared to other starting quarterbacks on playoff teams. But the Bucs have shown no willingness to renegotiate his contract, at least in part because of his age (38) and, arguably, because of concerns about Garcia's potential for injury.
I can't predict where this thing is going, but I seem to recall saying it would get worse before it got better. I'll resist the urge to say, "I told you so."
[Brendan Fitterer, Times photo files]