Insights and Observations
Read Henry Hinton's
feature story on veteran Hollywood actress and ECU alum
Beth Grant in
Thursday, November 4, 2004
By Henry Hinton
'Beer Truck' primed for shot
on big stage
All David Garrard has hoped for is a chance to show
that he can be a starter in the NFL and have an affect on his team equal to
that of his college years at East Carolina.
It looks like he finally has his chance.
Talk of The Town with Henry Hinton:
Being a back-up quarterback in the NFL can be a
thankless job: long practices and film sessions followed by long Sunday
afternoons as nothing more than a sideline observer. But as the back-up you
are always one snap away from being the starter.
That is exactly where Garrard finds himself — maybe. In
last Sunday’s 20-6 loss at Houston, Jacksonville Jaguars starter Byron
Leftwich left the game after a leg injury. Garrard came in for a series but
Leftwich finished the game, complaining only of a sore knee.
On Monday team physicians did an MRI on Leftwich and
found the injury to be more serious than originally thought. While the
injury is a knee strain, the original prognosis was that Leftwich could be
out 4-6 weeks.
Immediately Garrard got the adrenaline rush that was a
sure sign that he was about to get his big break. Leftwich has been quoted
in the Jacksonville media that he will be ready to play through the pain
when the Jags take the field for their next game with the Detroit Lions a
week from Sunday, but smart money says it will be Garrard under center
Even if Leftwich is able to go, there is a question of
how effective he could be, particularly since he threw a costly post-injury
interception late in the Houston game. The pick was run back for a score,
sealing the Jags’ fate in Reliant Stadium.
With an AFL South leading 5-3 record, Jacksonville
coach Jack Del Rio will want to do everything possible to get a win over
Detroit on November 14. He will not jeopardize any chance at the post-season
at this point.
As for Garrard, in an appearance on the Bonesville
Power Hour on Talk 1070 AM on Wednesday night, he said he is ready.
Wednesday's Bonesville Power Hour,
featuring special guests David Garrard
and Noah Brindise:
“Everything is going good as far as me working out with
the first team,” said Garrard. “Byron (Leftwich) is hoping for a good report
from one of the doctors on whether he will be back in a short amount of time
or a longer time. Until then I’ll be starting in his place just trying to
pick up some of the pieces where he left off and just try to keep things
This potential opportunity could be right on time for
Garrard, who holds nearly every quarterback record at ECU, including 10,238
yards in total offense (second in Conference USA history behind Chris
Redman), 9,029 yards passing (also second in league history), 666
completions and 60 touchdown passes.
Garrard also accounted for 81 touchdowns in his ECU
career, including the 21 he achieved running the ball. His huge frame was an
imposing challenge for defensive backs once he got past the line of
scrimmage. In short, he was a potential tackler's worst nightmare.
In his second year in Jacksonville, Garrard is ready to
prove he belongs in a starting NFL job. Last season, playing behind the
highly compensated Leftwich, Garrard appeared in just two games, completing
nine of 12 passes for 86 yards.
Garrard has been the focus of a band of disgruntled
Jacksonville fans this season who have wanted Leftwich benched in spite of
the starter’s successes on the field. PUT GARRARD IN tee shirts have cropped
up at home games and in area sporting goods shops.
An unexpected off-season battle with Crohn’s Disease,
an inflammation of the small intestines, nearly sidetracked the season for
Garrard. Successful surgery in June appears to have taken care of the
“Right now I’m totally free of Crohn’s,” Garrard said.
“After the surgery, they cleared me of it 100 per cent. I’m feeling good and
my body is functioning just fine. Back to my nice trim 245, so I’m back to
the 'Beer Truck,' ” a reference to a nick-name former ECU coach Steve Logan
hung on him during his college years.
Garrard has one more year on his contract with the
Jaguars and is aware that he could be considered trade bait if he plays well
during this stretch of upcoming games. Some NFL coaches, including Tampa
Bay’s Jon Gruden, have doled out praise after watching Garrard, particularly
in pre-season games.
“I’m human so when somebody gives you compliments you
want to take it for what it’s worth, but I try not to read into it too
much,” says Garrard. “There are a lot of coaches and players out there that
say things just to get leverage. It’s a business.”
However, Garrard knows there will never be a more
opportune chance to showcase his talents than now. The timing could not be
better for a guy trying to break through as a starter. But he shrugs off any
talk of the future, instead willing only to focus on the situation at hand.
“I have to just concentrate on my job right now and
that is to play the Detroit Lions in a couple of weeks,” he says. “That is
really where my focus is right now. I just want to be able to perform and
get this team a win.”
For thousands of Pirate fans who have fresh memories of
his days wearing the No. 9 purple uniform, Garrard's opportunity serves as a
chance to pull for a member of the family to succeed in the big time.
Send an e-mail message to
Click here to dig into Henry Hinton's
02/23/2007 10:14:10 AM