Garcia Returns to Raiders Practice

"Personal matter" latest thing to keep QB out of practice

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Jeff Garcia returns to practice with the Raiders.

    The Oakland Raiders made one of the more intriguing moves of the off-season, signing veteran quarterback Jeff Garcia to provide veteran leadership and to serve as a proven backup to JaMarcus Russell.

    But to this point, Garcia has been about as useful to his new team as Michael Crabtree.

    That all changes today, as Jeff Garcia returns to the practice field. Garcia had missed more than two weeks with a sore calf, and has been excused from practice the last two days because of a personal matter.

    Hey, if you were married to a Playboy bunny, then you might have some very personal matters to pay attention to as well.

    Garcia rejoined the Raiders Sunday night and is expected to hit the field for the Monday late afternoon practice. Jerry McDonald reports in the Oakland Tribune that despite the absence, Garcia's status as the #2 quarterback is still solid. "I think it’s going to be great,” Coach Cable told the Tribune. “(Garcia's) champing at the bit as much as I am, to get here and to be here and all that."

    "It’s just, you’ve got to take care of your body and he does a good job of that."

    And for a player who derives much of his game from the chip that always seems to reside on his shoulder, Garcia is returning at just the right time. Beginning Tuesday, the Raiders engage in a series of joint two-a-day practices with the team that once cut Garcia, the San Francisco 49ers.

    Garcia's prolonged absence had led to some speculation that maybe Garcia was reconsidering his future in pro football. "All this gets the conspiracy theorists wondering – is Garcia upset about something with the Raiders?," Paul Gutierrez wrote in the Sacramento Bee. "Was he promised more of a shot to compete for the starting job when he signed in April?"

    But if Garcia had been somehow miffed, his return indicates that things have been resolved. And if anyone is concerned that Garcia may waver on his motivation to play for the Raiders this season, don't worry. The Raiders play Garcia's former teams the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns this season. That chip on Jeff Garcia's shoulder isn't going anywhere. 

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who would like to see Jeff Garcia paired with Terrell Owens on "Superstars".