Raiders coach Tom Cable hasn’t ruled out bringing back quarterback Jeff Garcia. But if Garcia returns, he’ll have a few conditions.
Well, one condition.
Garcia will want to start.
In an interview with Chris Myers and Steve Hartman of FOX Sports Radio (via SportsRadioInterviews.com), Garcia said that he is willing to give it another try. As long as Garcia plays and JaMarcus Russell stands on the sidelines.
“I just feel like it’s an unfortunate situation when the entire work ethic and the entire goal of the team is really put upon one guy’s shoulder who really isn’t maybe ready for that situation or ready to take on that sort of responsibility,” Garcia said. “And I’m not saying JaMarcus can never be that guy. It’s just right now he’s still young, he has a lot of growth that needs to take place within himself from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint. Yeah, the guy’s extremely talented. . . . When you put him on the field in a one-on-one workout session he’ll make every throw for you, but when it comes down to making things happen in the heat of the battle and rallying the troops around you and making a case for the team, that’s where maybe things aren’t where they need to be.
“Right now that team is going through those growing pains. And I think I could have helped in a lot of ways had I still been there and had I had that opportunity to step on the field and lead the team and really show what it takes from a standpoint of leadership and work ethic and knowledge of the game. But the way things were working out and with the contract that I had signed, I didn’t feel like it was the right situation for me to be there anymore.”
Garcia also shared some observations regarding some of his former Oakland teammates not named Russell.
“It was to a point where I felt like guys who walked through those doors that just were there to collect a check and not really interested in putting everything that they had withing themselves on to the football field,” Garcia said. “And that was the frustrating thing for me to see. There were a lot of good young guys in that locker room who really want to do whatever it takes to win, but unfortunately it’s not everybody.
“In order to compete at this level in this game, everybody needs to be on board, everybody needs to be on the same page, everybody needs to really be accountable and be able to look at each other and have responsibility within themselves that they’re going to bring the best that they can have to bring. . . . Not just on Sunday, but every single day during the work week and when you’re not seeing that and maybe it’s because how things have been for a number of years now out there and they just don’t see the hope. . . . I was the guy who was trying to bring in a fresh outlook and a fresh new start. I was trying to really be that type of guy that could help motivate my teammates and help create a certain attitude, a certain mentality and it was just tough to break through to everybody and that’s where I found it to be more discouraging than encouraging.
“And for me at this point of my career, being 39 years old, as much as it meant so much to me to return back home and be close to the family and friends and play for a team that I grew up watching as a kid. . . . To see the reality of the situation and realize what I may be up against staying here for the entire year. It hurt me, it broke my heart to do that to step up, but I just felt like it was something I really didn’t want to put myself through anymore.”
The reaction from any Raiders fan who read these words should match the directive given by George Steinbrenner after George Costanza told him off.