Quarterback Jeff Garcia Breaks Leg in Preseason Game
Detroit Lions quarterback Jeff Garcia broke his left leg and sprained his ankle early in last night’s final preseason exhibition game.
Joey Harrington better be ready and able now. The Detroit Lions won their only preseason game Friday night, and it was costly. Backup quarterback Jeff Garcia will miss at least six weeks after breaking his left leg in Detroit’s 21-7 victory at Buffalo.
Garcia was hurt on the final play of the first quarter, a 23-yard run. As he was beginning to slide, he caught his left foot on the turf as he was hit across the neck by cornerback Terrence McGee. After lying on the field for several minutes, Garcia was unable to put any weight on the foot as he was helped onto a cart and driven to the team’s locker room, where X-rays showed Garcia broke his fibula. The team also fears he severely sprained his ankle.
“We’ll just keep our fingers crossed,” coach Steve Mariucci said. “It is frustrating and disappointing, but I will be back,” Garcia promised. “I’m going to be positive and try to get myself healthy so I can help this team.”
Detroit’s backups to the inconsistent Harrington, who sat out Friday night’s game with a groin problem, are rookie fifth-round pick Dan Orlovsky and rookie undrafted free agent Todd Mortensen. Garcia, a seven-year veteran, signed with Detroit as a free agent in March. He was with Cleveland last year after several Pro Bowl seasons in San Francisco.
Harrington, expected to return to practice on Monday, was shaken by Garcia’s injury. “I feel terrible for the guy. I’m frustrated as a teammate and a friend,” Harrington said. “I just hope he’s feeling better soon.”
Over twenty five years ago now, Dallas Cowboys punter and then-backup quarterback Danny White noted the odd relationship the had with future Hall of Famer Roger Staubach. He simultaneously liked the guy, rooted for him to win every game, and hoped he caught a cold. I’m sure Harrington feels the same way: He desperately wants to start but not this way.
Garcia’s injury will, once again, open up the debate about whether it makes sense to have full contact exhibition games–let alone four or five of them–in a game as violent as football. It really makes no sense to risk losing star players in games that don’t count.
Right now, the owners can charge their fans, especially season ticket holders, as much for these games as they do the real ones–and the players are working for peanuts. The solution would seem to be to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18 in time for the new television contracts. That would be win-win-win for all concerned, with the networks getting more games to show, the teams and players making more money, and the fans getting two more weeks to root for their favorite team.