Jeff Garcia Press Conference Transcript

The Eagles officially signed Jeff Garcia to backup Donovan McNabb. Find out why Garcia chose Philadelphia and how he sees his role with the Eagles.

On why Philadelphia was the best choice for him:
"I think that it's the right place for me in the sense that I am coming into a winning organization. They are a team that knows how to win, a great staff headed by [head] coach [Andy] Reid, a great owner in Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie and a team that has been very competitive over the last 6 plus years. Last year was a little bit of a struggle due to certain reasons, injuries and certain things that just went wrong. But prior to that, they were a team that was competitive every year, battling for a Super Bowl opportunity, getting to the Super Bowl. For me, at this latter part of my career, that is the major thing that I want to be a part of. I want to be a part of a team that has a chance to win every single weekend, that can compete every single weekend, that going into a season, knows and believes that they can be a Super Bowl championship team. That is why I have signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and I am excited and proud to be an Eagle."

On whether there were any other situations where he could have gotten to a winning team and also had the chance to compete for a starting job:
"I think at this point, there were not those opportunities that were out there for me. Going into last season, prior to signing with Detroit, I had some opportunities where I was looking at backup positions everywhere that was interested in me. There were some teams that were very competitive for the playoffs and potentially a Super Bowl and not to say that Detroit was not that team, but I looked at Detroit as probably the one team of the four as maybe a place where I could still get on the field as a starter, because that still burns inside of me. As much as I have accepted the role as a backup, I know that I can still contribute in a lot of ways and I know that I still have the fire in me to compete and to give my best. When I am on the field, what I am able to give is going to be positive. That is just one of the things that I believe in myself. It just so happens that the role of being a starter is not necessarily in the forefront. I am going to do everything I can to help the guys that are here playing the position, to help [QB] Donovan [McNabb], to be a vocal guy or an ear that he can push things on and if for some unfortunate reason I were to get that opportunity, I will be ready to step in and hopefully do a great job for the team."

On whether he thinks it's ironic that he signs one day after Terrell Owens was released:
"It is pretty ironic, I guess. It's just one of those things that had I maybe signed a day or two ago, we could have been teammates again. He's moved on and I have now stepped into a place where he played, but I am just excited to be a part of this organization."

On whether that was the reason he didn't sign before today:
"No, it's not. My grandfather's 90th birthday was pretty important this past weekend, so I was home for that."

On whether he would have considered coming here if Owens was still part of the team:
"I don't have a problem with the guy. The guy is a tremendous player on the field, everyone has seen that and I have been a part of that. I have seen what he can do first hand. It takes a team to succeed on the field, so no way do I ever point at one person as being the reason why we were winning or losing football games. But, he certainly is a difference maker. If I were able to have the opportunity to be a teammate of his again, I would not back down from it. I don't have a problem with the guy and I would try to make the best possible situation out of it."

On whether he has spoken to Donovan yet and whether they discussed the issues with last season:
"I have not spoken to Donovan yet. I look forward to that opportunity. I do know Donovan from the years we spent together at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. I have gotten to be around him and see what a great person he is, how everyone acts and responds to his leadership and personality and how he handles certain pressures or situations that could become negative. I think he's done a great job in the last couple of years of handling a lot of different types of circumstances and at some point when we are together here and when I do have a chance of getting him on the line, we will be able to share some things. But it's time to move on. We want to win football games and hopefully have a chance to win a Super Bowl. That is what all the focus and energy is going to be toward when I step into this building."

On whether his ankle is completely healed and whether he will be able to participate in the first minicamp:
"Without a doubt, I feel back to 100% healthy. I have been running, lifting and doing everything I would normally do prior to the injury. It was just an unfortunate break and I have overcome it. I am ready to move forward and make the most of being healthy again and trying to stay healthy."

On whether anything was said to him about Donovan's health:
"I really don't know too much about his health other than I know that he had the surgery, is recovering and he's going through rehab. I am sure that the way he takes care of himself, I am sure that he will have no problem getting back to 100% healthy. It is just the nature of the business, nature of the game. I think at the quarterback position especially, just with the physicality of the game and the way that guys are coming at you, it's not always easy to get back up. Donovan has had his share of injuries that he has fought through. He's certainly showed his toughness, both physical and mental with what he had fought through and this is just another example of how he will overcome something. But as a player and knowing how at any given moment you can be affected, it's important for me to be as ready and prepared as possible, both physically and mentally."

On comparing his physical skills now to when he was a Pro Bowl quarterback:
"I don't think they have diminished. I don't feel that I am any less than what I was back then. I think at that time of my career, I was around 31 years old, but we had a good thing going in San Francisco. We were together as an offense for a number of years. I was more comfortable in the system and we were excelling as an offense. So, because of that excellence as an offense, players are going to be rewarded and I was rewarded with going to the Pro Bowl three years in a row. I have maintained my work ethic; I have maintained everything I have done prior to those times, as far as my metal preparation and physical preparation. The things that changed are the teams, the situations and the circumstances. I don't feel like I am any less of a player than I was back then. I feel that if given an opportunity to get on the football field and given the right situation, that I can help a team excel and have success on the field."

On whether it's hard to accept a role as a backup:
"Well, as much as I am a competitor, I think that everybody who plays at this level and who has to swallow the fact that you are going to be a backup is not an easy one to accept because we all want to contribute in some way or another. We all want to be on the field battling. We all know what it takes to get to this point in our careers and for some of us it is more difficult than for others. I didn't have an easy path into the NFL. I had to go a different route and it makes me appreciate so much more what I have been able to obtain and accomplish at this level, but it doesn't make me satisfied as to where I am or content as to where I am. I just want to continue to do the things that have made me successful in the past and be prepared. I am 36 years old right now. I know I am no spring chicken, but it's one of those things that I do the things that I need to do in order to keep myself as young as possible, feeling as good as possible and make myself as competitive as possible, so if that opportunity does arise, I will be ready and I will take advantage of it, which is what my life has been all about. When the opportunities have arose, it was a matter of taking advantage of them. Now, the last two years have not been the sweet success stories that I have experienced prior to that, but every now and again we hit bumps in the road and we learn from our experiences and we hopefully turn those experiences into positives and make better situations the next time around."

On whether he has to reassure Donovan that he is here to be a backup:
"I don't think he needs any reassurance. I think he knows the situation. We all know the situation. Donovan is a Pro Bowl quarterback. He's a great leader. He's an outstanding player and I feel fortunate enough to be reunited somewhat as a teammate of his. We played in 3 Pro Bowls together, I know it's not like going through a season together, but I have been around him. I have been around and seen the type of character he has. He is the ultimate pro and he knows that with this situation, the fact that I am here, is because in some way or anther, and not to take away anything from any of the other guys that are here, we are trying to strengthen the position. We are trying to get the position more depth. If it means someone else is number two and I am number three, well hopefully that guy who is number two has showed that his game is deserving enough to be on the field if something were to happen to Donovan. But, I fully expect to be that number two guy and to be there, to be ready to step in if need be. But more so than that, just be ready to help Donovan in any way possible I can help, mentally or physically push him to do all the things that can contribute to a healthy and positive situation. In no way am I here to step on anybody's toes and create a negative, bad environment. I am here to have fun, get excited and enjoy playing football for a great organization and team that has a chance to win every single Sunday."

On how he keeps his competitive drive going when he knows there is a good chance he won't be on the field for games:
"You just find ways, whether it's in the weight room, meeting room, contributing to what we are doing as an offense. When you have opportunities to step out on the practice field, whether it's running the scout team or the few reps that you may have with your own offense, you want to take advantage of those opportunities, because you want to show that you are capable and that your teammates can have confidence in you if for some reason there was anything to happen to Donovan. But more so than that, I think the opportunities will come in preseason, where you will get chances on the field, but my fire is a motivating factor in the sense that I never want to embarrass myself. I never want to show that I am not prepared for a situation. I always am going to be mentally and physically prepared, in the best condition or in good of condition as anybody else on the team, just because that is the pride I take in myself to do the necessary things that can keep me competitive at this level. I am going on my 13th season as a professional athlete and it's never a sense of relaxing and resting upon the accolades that I have achieved in the past. It's more so about trying to maintain and even grow in certain ways to where I can still be competitive and when those 22 year-olds are coming in, those are the guys I am battling against, trying to show that I am just as worthy as they are."

On whether he thinks the transition into this offense will be easy:
"I think it will be relatively easy. I am sure there will be some things I have to learn, certain protection schemes, terminology, but it won't be a lot. I am sure that a lot of it is similar to what I had in San Francisco and Detroit. In that sense, the transition is made a little easier for me. I am a little more comfortable and I can step in and feel confident right away. I will not have to go through that learning curve of a brand new terminology and scheme. It is something that is comfortable to me and something that I have experienced success in before. So that makes it real positive."

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