Before They Were Pros: Juan Garcia

Injuries derailed Juan Garcia's senior season, but he is still being given a chance to chase his NFL dreams as an undrafted rookie with the Vikings. See what Garcia had to say about his college experience at the NFL Scouting Combine, before he knew where he'd end up in the NFL.

On being invited to the NFL Scouting Combine …

"I didn't have no idea. After the East-West Shrine Game, it basically came down to the East-West Shrine Game. If I had a good East-West Shrine Game, I probably would have gotten the invite. So after the Shrine Game, I kind of realized I might have gotten the invite.

On wondering if he'd have a shot at the NFL after injury in his senior season …

"Oh yeah, especially last year the way we were 0-12 and I didn't have a strong year. I thought my chances of coming to the combine were kind of over. So I was surprised when I got the call."

On teams being concerned about his foot …

"My foot seemed to be 100 percent. My injuries, they looked at them and they said they seemed to be healed. So far, so good.

On potentially having surgery versus just trying to rehab …

"If I would have gotten surgery, I would have been out for my senior year, and any chance of playing ever again. So I decided not to get the surgery and it worked out good. I played my senior year and I'm here today."

On his height and weight at the combine …

"They got me at 6-2.02 and my weight was 307."

On his weight during the season …

"I was pretty heavy last year. This is my actual playing weight when I was actually healthy two years before this."

On how heavy he was …

"About 325."

On if that extra weight was because of the injury …

"Yeah."

On when he could start running again …

"I got hurt in April. I didn't start running until August."

On if it was a Lis-Franc injury …

"Yeah. Lis-Franc."

On if it's it the same injury Isaiah Stanback suffered a few years ago …

"It's the same thing. His was probably actually worse, especially because he's a skill guy. He has to cut and run on it, so it was pretty bad for him."

On how frustrating this past season was …

"One of the worst things I've gone through. I mean, I've gone through a lot of stuff, but not winning a game, that's frustrating.

On teams asking about last season at the combine …

"No. They just asked me about the way I played and other stuff like that.

On how much of an honor is it to be a two-time captain …

"It's a big honor for me. I take a lot of pride in that because it was voted by the team."

On if he was surprised when he got it as a junior …

"Yeah, I was really surprised. I mean, I didn't think I was going to get it. I just remember being at the banquet and they called my name and I was like, 'Oh, man.' I was really honored.

On what he was doing to work out …

"Well, I've been training down in Arizona at Triple Threat Performance. The last game was December 6 and I got there December 12th and I've been there ever since until I got here on Tuesday."

On what he needed to work on to get ready …

"Probably a lot of lower-body power and stuff. My footwork is pretty good so just technique."

On what percentage health-wise he was last season …

"Now that I look back at it, toward the end I was like 80, 90 percent, but I was just hobbling around. I just knew throughout the whole year I wasn't the same athlete. I didn't feel like it. I didn't play like it. Still, today, I'm disappointed in the way I played."

On how he feels now …

"Oh man, when I was at the Shrine Game, I had my confidence. That's one thing I was lacking during the season. In the two years before that, I had confidence on the field, and I didn't have that. I didn't have that swagger to me. And right now, I have that swagger. I've been busting my butt and I feel like my old self.

On a tough decision to play a sixth season …

"Yeah, it was at first. But then I was like, I can blow my chance of going to the league. Last year, my chances were probably better than this year, but I made that choice to come back, play for the team and play for my guys. It didn't end up like the way I wanted it to, but I don't regret anything."

On if he feels like he has something to prove …

"Yeah. I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder. I'm frustrated with the way I played. I'm embarrassed. That's not me. I feel like when I talk to those guys, the teams, I tell them whatever you saw of that guy, that's not me. I take more pride than that."

On if it's too late to show that …

"I don't think so. If I can show them that I can work real good. The East-West Shrine Game helped me a lot, show them that it was like day and night, the difference from the season to the Shrine Game."

On how he views his six years …

"It was a journey. I give it to Coach Neuheisel, he recruited me. And I thanked him after the UCLA game. He gave me a shot when nobody else would and forever I hold him dear in my heart, but the only thing I regret is not winning enough games. Other than that it was a great experience. I love being a Husky. I've gotten a degree out of the University of Washington. I met a lot of great people. I just wish I could have won more games."

On if Washington was one of the only schools to offer a scholarship …

"They were the first big school to offer me. After they offered me, Wazzu and Oregon jumped on the bandwagon, but it was too late. At first, they weren't even looking at me, I was under the radar. A little bit of that and they didn't have a lot of film on me. My senior year is when I really came out and my grades weren't so good."


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