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NFL Browns will cut ties with Garcia

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

General manager Phil Savage would like to re-sign Kelly Holcomb.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jeff Garcia won't even get to celebrate his one-year anniversary with the Cleveland Browns.
Less than 12 months after they signed the three-time Pro Bowler to fix their problems at quarterback, the Browns told Garcia on Monday that he was no longer in their plans and will be released with three years remaining on his contract.
Garcia signed a four-year, $25 million free agent deal with Cleveland last March, but almost from the time he was handed an orange helmet and No. 5 jersey, it was apparent that it wasn't a good fit.
In 10 starts for Cleveland, Garcia completed 144-of-253 passes for 1,731 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. But even in the preseason, he criticized former coach Butch Davis' offense and never really fit into Davis' system.
Garcia's release -- league rules prevent it from becoming official until Feb. 22 -- continues a house cleaning in the aftermath of a 4-12 season by the Browns, who last week hired Romeo Crennel, New England's former defensive coordinator, as their coach.
Crennel, Carthon agreed
On Sunday, Crennel named Maurice Carthon his offensive coordinator and the two didn't waste any time coming to an agreement on their first personnel move, deciding that Garcia was not worth keeping.
Garcia, due a $500,000 roster bonus next month, is likely to be one of a number of veteran quarterbacks on the market this spring.
Two-time league MVP Kurt Warner, who signed with the New York Giants last spring to help break in rookie Eli Manning, has asked to be released after losing his job to Manning after nine games.
Buffalo also could release Drew Bledsoe, a longtime starter with the Bills and Patriots.
Davis, who resigned on Nov. 30 with five games left in the season, outbid Tampa Bay last winter for Garcia, thinking he was a better option at quarterback than either Tim Couch or Kelly Holcomb.
But Garcia never seemed to click with teammates and admitted to having a hard time adjusting to Cleveland's lifestyle after spending his entire life in northern California.
During the exhibition season, the 34-year-old complained that he wasn't getting enough playing time and that he was having trouble adjusting to new teammates and a new offense. Garcia made things worse by openly criticizing Davis and offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, complaining that they weren't using him properly.
Injuries, poor play
At one point, Davis called Garcia "skittish" in the pocket, a comment that angered the quarterback and expanded the rift between them.
After rallying the Browns to beat Baltimore in Week 1, Garcia threw three interceptions the next week in a loss at Dallas and recorded a 0.0 quarterback rating -- only the fifth NFL quarterback since 1970 to do so.
Garcia also was hampered by injuries. He strained his shoulder on a sack against the New York Jets on Nov. 21 and tore a knee ligament on Dec. 12 in Buffalo.
With Garcia gone, the Browns will likely try to re-sign Holcomb, who is eligible for free agency, or trade for a veteran quarterback. The team also has the No. 3 pick in April's NFL draft, although it is unlikely they would want to start over with a rookie QB.
"I think Kelly would like to come back to the Cleveland Browns, and I think the feeling is mutual," general manager Phil Savage said.
Meanwhile, Robiskie, who went 1-4 as Cleveland's interim coach after Davis quit, will stay with the Browns as wide receivers coach. That was his position for three seasons before being named offensive coordinator last year.
Crennel also named Jeff Davidson his offensive line coach and will retain Jerry Rosburg as Cleveland's special teams coach. Davidson has spent the past eight seasons with New England. Rosburg has been with the Browns since 2001.