Garcia wooed by Bucs, Broncos

Gilroy
– Jeff Garcia may land in Tampa after all. The former Gilroy
High, Gavilan and San Francisco 49ers star has been offered a
contract to backup newly re-signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers
quarterback, the St. Petersburg Times reports.
Gilroy – Jeff Garcia may land in Tampa after all. The former Gilroy High, Gavilan and San Francisco 49ers star has been offered a contract to backup newly re-signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Garcia took a physical with the team and met with Buccaneers coach John Gruden over the weekend. The Gilroy native had considered playing for Tampa Bay after being released by San Francisco following the 2003 NFL season, but wound up signing with the Cleveland Browns instead.

He was released by the Browns a week ago after a disappointing, injury-plagued year in Cleveland.

“Jeff is strongly considering Tampa Bay,” Garcia’s agent Steve Baker told the Times. “He met with Coach Gruden knowing that they had reached a deal with Brian Griese. I’d say there’s a 50 percent chance he goes there.”

Gruden has been a fan of Garcia’s since the quarterback’s Pro Bowl days with the 49ers.

“He’s a great talent, but I don’t have anything to report there,” Gruden told The Tampa Tribune. “We’re looking into his situation just like everybody else is.”

Garcia is also being pursued by the Denver Broncos, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The newspaper reports that Garcia met with Broncos coach Mike Shanahan Saturday at the NFL’s scouting combine in Indianapolis and has been offered a deal to backup Denver starter Jake Plummer.

Meanwhile, the Times reports that Bucs backup Brad Johnson will be released by the team today, taking the veteran out of the quarterback mix at Tampa Bay.

Also in that mix is third-year quarterback Chris Simms. But Gruden told the two Tampa-area papers that he is not ready to give the young signal-caller the starting job, or perhaps even the responsibility of being first off the bench for Griese.

“We don’t give guys starting jobs here just because Buffalo is giving their guy (J.P. Losman) their job,” Gruden told the Times and Tribune. “Chris Simms has to earn that right. He has to earn the right to be a starter. He hasn’t done that yet.

“Do we think he can? Yeah. We think he has great upside. But he has to string along some consistent performances – in practice and the preseason. … And when he does, when he realizes his potential, I think he’ll be a starter.”

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