The Eagles will sign quarterback Jeff Garcia to a one-year contract, a league source confirmed to the Daily News, and the Eagles later announced.
"Adding Jeff Garcia to the roster is a great idea," injured quarterback Donovan McNabb said in a statement posted tonight on his blog at yardbarker.com. "He knows our offense and how we do things around here. He's a great teammate, and I look forward to working with him again."
The Birds had been expected to try to bring back A.J. Feeley, and they apparently tried to do so, but Feeley flew to Charlotte this evening and said he will sign with the Panthers on Tuesday. Carolina IR'd QB Josh McCown, who suffered a foot injury in the Eagles' 38-10 season-opening win.
"Hard to say goodbye, but yeah, it was a better opportunity," Feeley told the Daily News in a text message.
Was signing Jeff Garcia a good move for the Eagles?
Eagles coach Andy Reid confirmed the move on his radio show on WIP.
"Jeff's going to come on board with us for who knows how long here," Reid said. "We're lucky that Jeff was available. Someone who knows the offense, has been very, very successful in the offense, and can come in and also be a positive influence for Kevin Kolb and everyone else in the locker room."
"It's a unique situation because Michael (Vick) is suspended for a week and Donovan's banged up. So we don't know how long Donovan's going to be and at the same time we need a second quarterback in there if needed this weekend."
Garcia helped lead the Eagles to the playoffs in 2006 after McNabb’s season ended with an injury. In the process, he became the story of that NFL season and was adored by Eagles fans, including having the team's best-selling jersey.
Garcia started six games for the Birds, going 5-1, in the regular season. The Eagles were eventually knocked out of the playoffs by New Orleans.
Since leaving the Eagles, Garcia, 39, spent the last two seasons with Tampa Bay and then spent training camp this summer with Oakland before he was released.
“I am excited to come back to organization, not excited to come back due to Donovan’s injury," Garcia said in a conference call with reporters. "But I am looking forward to contributing any way I can, whether it’s for a week or two weeks or the entire season.”
A source close to Garcia said the QB's comfort level with the Eagles' system and coaching staff made this an attractive opportunity, even if it is just for the short term. Of course, if Garcia gets on the field and does well, he could play himself into the Eagles' crowded quarterback picture somehow, or, more likely, become more attractive to another team that might need a quarterback, when McNabb returns from a rib fracture.
“I guess when I saw Donovan go down yesterday, the thought crossed my mind that it might be a possibility," Garcia said. "It’s funny, I was on my way to Los Angeles to do pregame stuff for Monday Night Football when my agent told me the Eagles were interested in signing me. I had my driver turn me around.”
The signing was initially reported by ESPN.com.
Earlier in the day, coach Andy Reid said if McNabb cannot play, then Kevin Kolb would be the starter.
Reid also said he was looking into other options for the second quarterback spot. To add Garcia to the roster, the Eagles will have to cut someone, but that won't happen until he actually signs.
Garcia was signed by the Raiders in the offseason to a 1-year deal, presumably to help mentor JaMacus Russell. He then missed the first two weeks of training camp with a left calf injury and did not play in the first preseason game.
He played sparingly in the preseason, including going 3-for-6 for 12 yards in the finale. He was then released Sept. 5 when teams cut their rosters to 53.
After the Raiders' preseason finale, Garcia seemed uncertain about whether he would remain with the team.
"I haven't played a whole lot in the preseason, so I don't think there's ever really a comfortable feeling, especially when there are so many problems to be fixed it seems," Garcia told reporters, according to ESPN.com. "All I can do is give everything I have to give and try to better myself every day and try along the way help my teammates better themselves. That's all I can ask of myself right now."
To read our report on Donovan McNabb's injury, click here.
To read our report about the NFL's determination about the hit on McNabb, click here.