The Real Story Behind Garrard's Release

The Jaguars rather unceremoniously excused quarterback David Garrard of his duties just five days prior to the season opener. Find out the inside story of how this decision came about.

Professional sports is a difficult business. The fans want honesty at every turn, every day, about every transaction and the front office usually needs to maintain a certain sense of secrecy to give themselves a competitive advantage. The Jaguars are no different than any other franchise in that regard.

Most fans want affirmation instead of information, especially when it comes to their favorite teams. When it comes to personnel decisions, most think their opinions based on three hours per week of viewing from a television set is more accurate than a coaching staff that does daily evaluation.

Why It Happened

As a member of the media sometimes you need to read between the lines you are fed and search around for a story if one is there. Jaguars quarterback David Garrard's release was anything but a shocking move if you were paying any attention.

Garrard has lost many more important games than he's won and over the past three seasons the team lost six of their last seven (2008), their final four (2009), and their last three games (2010) respectively. The quarterback that earned the team's trust had betrayed it with his play down the stretch but it wasn't his fault, according to him.

It's been well documented how David Garrard blamed his teammates for his shortcomings over the past few years and that caused there to be very little stir in the locker room after the announcement of his release.

Gerald Alexander, a member of the Jaguars from 2008 to part of 2010 tweeted yesterday that quite a few players felt like Luke McCown would have won the starting job last season, had their been a legitimate competition for the position. Anyone who watched a good amount of practices could easily see that.

Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis claimed that there would be no drop-off from Garrard to Luke McCown. That's because he's there every day to see what's going on.

To put it simply, Garrard was regressing before everyone's eyes and many fans were blinded due to the positive reflections of Garrard from the official Jaguars website, team broadcasters and public relations department. It was the receivers faults, the offensive line's fault, and finally the defense's fault.

Perhaps Garrard even believed the propoganda himself.

The front office made it clear when they traded up in the first round of the draft to select Blaine Gabbert that they were no longer happy with the play of the quarterback position. Anyone who believed that Garrard's job would be completely safe had their heads in the sand. I first reported the possibility back in May.

Garrard came into training camp rusty as usual and this time had legitimate competition. After a hurt back sidelined him for nine days, Garrard made the same rookie mistakes he has been making for nine years. The front office knew that something had to be done.

"What it really came down to is, I gave David Garrard every opportunity to show us what we had seen before," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said Tuesday. "What made him the starter in the first place, and he just couldn't get it going."

The Jaguars claimed that the release of Garrard was "a pure football decision." Jack Del Rio stated that "No. Money was not a factor." However much they want to deny it, money played a very big factor.

Anyone who went to a number of practices could clearly see that Luke McCown was the best quarterback in camp. He had been for two years. But if McCown was due to earn $8 million and Garrard $1.5 million, McCown would have been the player that was released.

Garrard's poor play made the decision that much easier and apparently after Monday's practice in which the Jaguars quarterback threw three interceptions, it became far too obvious that he was no longer a starting quarterback in this league. This is a conclusion which many people could tell years ago.

Del Rio reiterated Wednesday that the team felt as if they could no longer win with Garrard under center, plain and simple. Multiple sources inside the Jaguars locker room believed that Garrard was "in it for the money" and he admitted to one player that he "no longer had the fire."

If the quarterback admits that he no longer has any sort of fire, there's no surprise that he wasn't voted a team captain. And it shouldn't be a surprise why he isn't a member of the team.

Find out tomorrow what else led to the decision and how the Jaguars organization wanted more than anything for Garrard to be successful.

Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

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