Talk about a New York Jets career that's over before it even started. Veteran quarterback David Garrard is hanging up his football cleats due to chronic knee issues. The breaking point came this week when the 35-year-old’s knee ballooned following practices and wasn’t responding well to treatment.
"Having to call it quits,” Garrard told Sirius XM’s Adam Schein via text message. “My knee is not holding up. Continuing to swell after practices. Limiting what I can do,"
The Jets lose a veteran presence in the locker room and viable option to win the starting quarterback job this summer. Now with rookie Geno Smith and the embattled Mark Sanchez headlining the competition to lead New York’s huddle, the Jets are in somewhat of a bind.
Just three weeks ago the Jets had six quarterbacks on their depth chart, but after releasing Tim Tebow and Garrard announcing his retirement this week, suddenly the team will need to keep Sanchez whether he wins the starting job or not. Speculation grew in the weeks following April's NFL draft that New York would shop Sanchez and try to find a trading partner, but now with the unproven and raw Smith a main front runner at signal-caller, the Jet can ill-afford to lose Sanchez if not for anything but quality depth reasons.
Garrard’s departure may not seem like a significant occurrence at first glance, but the veteran’s intangibles and potential ability to mentor Smith and Sanchez cannot be overlooked. With a full summer of position battles ahead of them, one thing remains clear, the New York Jets quarterback battle is now a two-horse race.