Killer: Lions won't rush into signing Garcia or any other QB
If Killer's saying this, must mean that the Lions will sign Garcia in the next two days!
Lions won't rush into signing Garcia or any other QB
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
By Tom Kowalski
INDIANAPOLIS -- Jeff Garcia might appear to be the perfect fit for the Detroit Lions' backup quarterback position, but the team isn't rushing into anything.
Garcia was officially released by the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday, allowing him to begin negotiations with any team in the NFL.
Sources say there was contact between the Lions and Garcia's agent, Steve Baker, but the talks were preliminary at best. More quarterbacks, including Kurt Warner, will become available on March 2 when the free agency signing period begins. The Lions say they'll be patient in finding the right player.
The Lions have indicated they'll tell all possible candidates that Joey Harrington is the team's starting quarterback. That doesn't mean Harrington couldn't lose his job during the preseason, but it does narrow the focus of the Lions' search. President Matt Millen is not looking for a quarterback who will insist on starting.
Baker, who is here for the NFL scouting combine, refused to comment on the situation. Baker wouldn't even confirm or deny whether he had been in contact with the Lions on Tuesday.
However, a source close to Garcia said the 35-year-old quarterback would accept a backup position, which means he remains a candidate for the Lions.
Detroit head coach Steve Mariucci helped bring Garcia to prominence during their days with the San Francisco 49ers. Garcia went to three consecutive Pro Bowls under Mariucci (2000-2002), but had a miserable year with the Browns as a high-priced free agent last season.
It appears Mike McMahon is no longer an option to be the team's backup quarterback. While Mariucci has said repeatedly that McMahon isn't out of the picture, the Lions have made no attempt to re-sign him prior to March 2, when he'll be free to talk to other teams.
Other quarterbacks the Lions will consider for the backup position include Brad Johnson and Jon Kitna.
As expected, on Tuesday the Lions released safety Brian Walker, who still had one year left on his contract. The Lions will likely release receiver Az Hakim, but that might not happen until the Lions find a suitable replacement -- or need to clear room under the salary cap. Neither of those situations is expected to arise for several weeks.
Also, the Lions are continuing to talk to center Dominic Raiola about re-signing before the March 2 deadline. The Lions are also talking to some of the team's other free agents, like right tackle Stockar McDougle, but it appears Raiola's deal could be the first one completed.