'It's Still Weird,' but David Garrard's Active Again

David Garrard admitted he didn't know a few things about his comeback from retirement. For instance, in talking with reporters today for the first time since we activated him earlier this week, he said he didn't know for sure what the team would say at the end of his two-week roster exemption.

"I had every option and every thought in my mind of what could happen and what to be ready for," the veteran quarterback said. "I've been around for a little while now, so I know that anything could happen, that you could hear one thing the day before and something happens the next day and you sleep on things, stuff like that."

In fact, Garrard said he didn't know, when he called GM John Idzik several weeks back that if he wanted to get back in the game after retiring from the Jets on May 30, that he was not a free agent.

"It was all kind of in the same night. I just started having these thoughts: Why am I still sitting at home when I'm seeing a lot of not-so-good play on the field, not here but just around the league? I'm thinking even if it's not being on the field, I can be helping somebody at some point in time. I realized I should probably reach out to Mr. Idzik and at least let him know I'm trying to make a return.

"I didn't know about the whole they-have-my-rights thing, and he told me. And I said, well, if there's anything I can do to help you guys out, I would love to. He said he'll sleep on it and he'll talk to the rest of the guys and get back to me later in the week. And he did."

Sleep factors strongly in this David Garrard comeback story, but so does plain old rest. When he left us in the spring, he didn't know if his aching knee would need surgery. His doctors and ours said not surgery so much as rest. Which is what led Garrard to start thinking those crazy thoughts about playing again in the first place.

"It was all very weird — it's still weird to be here right now," he said in front of his locker at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center after today's practice. "Honestly, I was retired. I was enjoying family life. I was starting to move on to the next chapter in my life, opening up some gyms in Jacksonville."

He feels the knee didn't respond back in the spring because he was working so hard to make it back with the Jets that he sacrificed the healing rest he needed. Through the summer he got that rest, worked out with his wife Mary — a flag football quarterback, of course — and the problem joint was feeling great and wasn't swelling anymore.

With a newly healthy knee and a right arm that hasn't seemed to age, the last frontier for Garrard is his general conditioning, as head coach Rex Ryan noted at today's news conference.

"His conditioning isn't to where we'd certainly like it to be eventually. That's why he works after practice every day," Rex said. "But it's better, it's good. The way he's throwing the football — he can really throw the ball — I think he's good for us. He has that experience. He's maybe someone that Geno [Smith] can talk to because he's been there, done that."

As for what David Garrard will be and will do for the rest of the season, it might be merely to serve as the third quarterback, inactive each week, and school up rookie Smith and first-year man Matt Simms. Might be.

"My knowledge of the game and my past history can help both of them hopefully to be just a little bit better quarterbacks and be able to study a little bit better on certain things," Garrard said. "But my arm's been good so I'm just going to keep it warmed up and get the rest of the body ready in case my number's ever called."

Rex Cetera

That number, in case you're wondering, was No. 4 while Brady Quinn, wearing No. 9, was still on the roster. Garrard likes Quinn and wishes him all the best in St. Louis, but with Quinn released when David was activated, No. 9 is again available. That's the only number Garrard wore in his nine seasons with the Jaguars. No number change has been announced yet.

A new listing on our injury report: TE Jeff Cumberland, who did not participate in practice due to a hamstring issue out of the Patriots game. WR Santonio Holmes remains a DNP with a hamstring (but his foot is no longer listed on the I-report). Ryan said of the two, "Cumberland, I feel good about him. Holmes, he is progressing and I hope he'll be out there soon." For the rest of our 14-player injury report, click here. The Bengals have reported that of their two starting CBs, Leon Hall (Achilles) will not play Sunday and Terence Newman (ankle) did not practice today.

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