DETROIT - Don't put those #3 jerseys on mothballs just yet. Deposed starter Joey Harrington could re-emerge as the Lions starting quarterback as soon as Sunday.
Lions head coach Steve Mariucci confirmed in his post-game press conference that there was a possibility that Harrington could get the call on Sunday against the (2-4) Minnesota Vikings.
``It will only depend on Jeff's health. He was pretty sore, I don't know how much he limped in front of you guys, but I think he was pretty sore. It'll depend on how much practice time he gets and how he feels. If he feels well enough to play, he will start."
But then Mariucci left the door open for a possible Harrington return saying, ``If he's sore and can't practice, whatever, we'll have to play it through the week, but I think he'll take a couple of days to rest and treat and be back at it."
When asked point blank that if he could play Sunday would Garcia be the starter, Mariucci replied, ``We'll see. I'll see how sore he is and how functional we think he could be."
Garcia took several heavy hits including a helmet-to-helmet collision with Bears linebacker Tommie Harris. He admitted that he was less than 100% but wanted to try to go. Garcia has emerged in the last few weeks as a vocal, inspirational leader and likely felt he would be letting his teammates down if he didn't suit up, regardless of his health.
``I don't think so. I don't think they can question my effort today, what I battled through today. The injury that I am feeling, not to even put that as an excuse or anything, but I was feeling some pain throughout the day and just trying to make plays out there. I know that I didn't have the mobility that I feel I generally have."
Interestingly in the locker room, players, to a man, backed Garcia and said they felt no loss of confidence in his ability to lead the team. Dominic Raiola said afterwards that he felt that Garcia was just trying to "make a play" when he threw the interception that was returned by Bears corner Charles Tillman for the game winner.
Harrington was not available in the post-game locker room but has had a good two weeks of practice since being demoted to second-string. If Garcia is unable to start, he would likely be listed as the 3rd quarterback in order to make it clear that he isn't starting due to injury and avoid a quarterback controversy.