Last game looming for Garcia, others?
QB Jeff Garcia can't ignore the facts: Sunday's game could be his last in a Tampa Bay uniform.
"I can't deny that has definitely crossed my mind being that I'll be a free agent when the season is complete for us," Garcia said today. "I hope it's not my last game as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. I hope that if things work out the way that I would wish for them to work out, then you won't see me just one last time. But because it's the last game on the schedule, I would like to go out and have a great day and enjoy the day. Because the way things are, it may be my last game."
But Garcia knows whether he returns is not up to him but largely dependent on the decision of a coach he has not seen eye to eye with: Jon Gruden.
"What has happened outside of football, to me, is water under the bridge," Garcia said. "I've moved on. I've enjoyed playing the game with this group of teammates I have here in Tampa. . . I've really enjoyed being here and I'm very open to the idea of coming back to this team. But whether that happens or not is not for me to say. But what I'm concentrating on right now is trying to be the best quarterback I can be for this last game."
Garcia, 38, suggested he isn't considering retirement after this season, but he didn't rule it out, either.
"I don't think it's a stupid question because I am getting to that point in my career," he said. "When you come out of a game looking like I did last Sunday (two black eyes), it makes me think. It makes my wife think 'You're either going to stop or move on to something else or something.' There is too much love for the game within myself. Now, granted, I want to be able to walk and do the things I love to do outside of football when it does come to an end. . . I believe that I can still compete at a high level. I guess I'll have to really think about that and have a good talk with my family as to when that day will come."
Garcia isn't alone. The Bucs have some other key free agents or players who potentially could be playing their final games here for various reasons. Among them are WR Antonio Bryant, LT Donald Penn (restricted free agent), TE Jerramy Stevens, WR Joey Galloway, DE Kevin Carter, SS Jermaine Phillips and QB Luke McCown.