Harrington Disagrees With Benching

DETROIT - Joey Harrington wasn't very thankful following Thursday's 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

DETROIT - Joey Harrington wasn't very thankful following Thursday's 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

After completing 6 of 13 passes for 61 yards and one interception, Harrington was shelved in favor of veteran Jeff Garcia with just minutes to play in the first half.

The benching was curious, considering Harrington had played efficiently, tossing several several sharp throws despite being plagued by three dropped passes and poor offensive line protection. On his interception, wide receiver Roy Williams stumbled and fell on the timing pattern.

Upon returning to the sidelines, Harrington looked less than thrilled, and remained discontented in the locker room after the game.

"I wasn't surprised," said Harrington. "I mean, he's made the change earlier in the year. When we didn't put the ball in the end zone, I can't say that I was surprised.

"I don't necessarily agree with it but that's the nature of being a competitor."

When pressed further, Harrington again attempted to be understanding of the decision.

"We didn't get anything going and coach was trying to spark a change," he said. "Like I said, I wasn't surprised by it, but as a competitor, you don't ever want that to happen."

Garcia completed 14 of his 24 passes for 154 yards, but his play was erratic, including a fly-ball interception in the third quarter. Later in the fourth quarter, he was bailed out on another interception that was nullified after a Falcons penalty.

Mariucci defended his decision.

"Again, what was the score?," he asked. "17-0? So you are looking for a spark. You are not just looking for a spark, you are looking for points and some production and that is what we were trying to get from Jeff. We got some excitement from the fans, you heard that.

"But that is not what it is all about. It is about scoring some points too and getting the ball in the end zone. For a variety of reasons, drives stalled but I thought it was time to give Jeff a look and see if he could spark us into some points."

Harrington agreed that the team's performance was an embarassment, but when asked if he wondered whether or not things would ever change, he remained positive.

No, I don't wonder that because we have the ability to make it change," he said. "When you are a part of something like this, you have the ability to either sit back and watch it happen and be satisfied with it or you can continue to work and you can continue to make yourself a better player.

"We can change it. People can change it; we just have to know how to do it."

However, asked whether or not he felt some of his teammates have already given up on the season, he wasn't as certain.

"I don't know," Harrington said. "I can't speak for other people. I can tell you that I never will. I will never give up on this. I don't care what happens. I don't care if I am on the sideline, I don't care if I'm on the field, I'm not going to give up.

"I'm not going to give up on this team or this city."

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