David Garrard

David Douglas Garrard (born February 14, 1978 in East Orange, New Jersey) is the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Jaguars in the 4th round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He played college football at East Carolina University.

David Garrard grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where he attended Southern High School. Garrard was 14 years old when his mother died from breast cancer. When Garrard began his NFL career, he created The David Garrard Foundation to promote breast cancer awareness and research.[1]

Doctors diagnosed Garrard with Crohn’s disease in 2004. Despite undergoing surgery in June 2004 to remove a nearly 12-inch portion of his intestines, Garrard played during the 2004 NFL season.

High school

Garrard was named an All-America choice by Prep Stars and rated the best quarterback in North Carolina while playing for Southern High in Durham.[3] Veteran high school coaches in North Carolina said Garrard possessed one of the strongest arms they had ever seen and compared Garrard to former NFL quarterback Roman Gabriel.[4]

College career

Garrard took over as the starting quarterback for the East Carolina Pirates midway through the 1998 season as a red-shirt freshman.[5] Although physically larger than most quarterbacks at more than 240 pounds, Garrard displayed exceptional mobility. Former East Carolina head football coach Steve Logan compared the experience of tackling Garrard to “getting hit by a beer truck.”[6] Garrard also proved durable, starting every game for the Pirates in the 1999, 2000, and 2001 seasons.

In Garrard’s sophomore season, he led the Pirates to a 9–3 record with victories over the West Virginia Mountaineers, South Carolina Gamecocks, Miami Hurricanes, and North Carolina State Wolfpack. In the fourth game of the season against Miami, East Carolina came back from a 20–3 deficit to defeat the 13th-ranked Miami Hurricanes, 27–23. Garrard threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Keith Stokes for the go-ahead score in the final minutes of the game. ECU was unable to play the scheduled home game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on its campus in Greenville, NC, because Hurricane Floyd had ravaged the eastern part of the state the prior week. The hurricane also prevented the Pirates from returning to Greenville following a road victory against South Carolina, leaving ECU’s football team stranded in Columbia, SC. East Carolina moved the game against Miami to Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.[7] The victory propelled ECU into the Associated Press college football poll’s top 25. The Pirates spent eleven weeks ranked in the AP poll, climbed to as high as 16th in the poll, and finished the regular season ranked 20th.[8] East Carolina dropped out of the top 25 to 27th in the voting after losing 28–14 in the Mobile Alabama Bowl to Texas Christian University and the Horned Frogs’ star running back, LaDainian Tomlinson.[9]

ECU finished 8–4 in Garrard’s junior season. Garrard capped the season by throwing an unbelievable touchdown and rushing for another acrobatic TD in a 40–27 victory against Texas Tech in the Bowl.[10] Garrard’s senior season began with high expectations but ended in disappointment. Although East Carolina averaged more than 35 points per game in 2001, the Pirates finished the season with a 6–6 record.[11]

Ironically, the final game of Garrard’s college career pitted him against Marshall University and its starting quarterback, Byron Leftwich, in the 2001 GMAC Bowl. Garrard and Leftwich would eventually be teammates with the Jacksonville Jaguars and compete for the team’s starting quarterback position. In the highest-scoring bowl game in college football history, Leftwich brought Marshall back from a thirty-point deficit to defeat Garrard’s East Carolina Pirates 64–61 in double-overtime .[12]

Garrard broke 28 school passing and offensive records[13] at East Carolina and joined a select few quarterbacks who achieved more than 9000 passing yards and 1000 rushing yards in their collegiate careers.[14]

Garrard went on to graduate from East Carolina University in 2001 with a degree in Construction Management.

Professional career

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Garrard under center against the Indianapolis Colts in 2009.

Garrard was drafted as the apparent successor to starting quarterback Mark Brunell. However, following the 2002 season, the Jaguars fired then head coach Tom Coughlin, and new general manager James Harris drafted Byron Leftwich with the seventh overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Leftwich replaced an injured Mark Brunell as the starting quarterback during the 2003 season and Garrard continued to serve as the team’s backup quarterback.

Garrard started for the Jaguars’ when Leftwich was injured during Week 9 of the 2004 National Football League season with a sprained left knee. After the 2004 season, Garrard opted to stay with the Jaguars as a back-up instead of pursuing a chance at starting for another team.

Garrard also started 5 games of the 2005 season when Leftwich went down with an injury in week 11. With Garrard as starting quarterback, the Jaguars finished the regular season by going 4–1 and made the playoffs, with the only loss coming at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts. Leftwich then returned as the starter for the AFC wild card playoff game, in which the Jaguars suffered a 28–3 loss to the New England Patriots.[15][dead link]

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Garrard (far right, #9) with the Jaguars).

In 2006, Del Rio named Garrard the starter in Week 8 and attributed the change to Leftwich’s chronic injury problems, but Leftwich claimed he was healthy enough to continue serving as the team’s starter.[16] Garrard was inconsistent and went 5–5 to finish the season as the Jaguars missed the playoffs. In November 2006, Garrard was intercepted four times in a 13–10 loss at home against the Houston Texans.[17][dead link]

In February 2007, Del Rio attempted to avoid a quarterback controversy by naming Leftwich the team’s unconditional starting quarterback. However, Garrard outplayed Leftwich in the 2007 preseason, throwing for 456 yards, one passing touchdown and another rushing touchdown. Del Rio said Garrard gave the Jaguars a better chance to win than Leftwich[18] and announced Garrard would be the starting quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 31, 2007.[19] The Jaguars released Leftwich the next day.[20] Garrard led the Jaguars to a 11-5 record and threw for 18 TDs and 2,509 yds despite missing 3 games with a sprained ankle. He also tied an NFL record by throwing only 3 interceptions, which gave him a quarterback rating of 102.2.

On January 5, 2008, In the AFC Wild Card Game, Garrard led his team to a 31–29 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Down 29–28 with 1:56 to go, he led his team in a field goal-scoring drive highlighted by a 32-yard run on 4th and 2 that eventually set up the game winning field goal for the Jaguars.

On January 12, 2008, In the AFC Divisional Playoff Game, David threw for 278 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception against the unbeaten New England Patriots. However, the Patriots won the game, 31-20.

On April 7, 2008 it was announced that the Jaguars and Garrard had agreed to a contract extension, worth $60 million for 6 years.[21]

In 2008, the Jaguars slumped to a 5-11 record, with an injured offensive line. Garrard threw for 3,620 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, giving him a quarterback rating of 81.7. The Jaguars missed the playoffs, and finished last in the AFC South.

On January 24, 2010, David Garrard was selected as the third quarterback to the 2009 AFC Pro Bowl team backing up Matt Schaub and Vince Young after Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer withdrew.

Personal life

David Garrard is married and has one child. Garrard proposed to his wife before a 2003 Jaguars preseason game; the proposal was broadcast on the stadium’s JumboTron.

Garrard suffers from Crohn’s disease and has appeared in television commercials regarding treating the illness.[22]

He has spoken to children at the Painted Turtle Camp, a camp for children with disorders about living with Crohn’s disease.

Garrard has also appeared in a Zaxby’s commercial, promoting their chicken.

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