Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith Defends Timing of Cutting Quarterback David Garrard, Uses Patriots as Excuse

Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith Defends Timing of Cutting Quarterback David Garrard, Uses Patriots as Excuse Don't worry, Jacksonville Jaguars fans (all five of you). It's not at all awkward that the team cut starting quarterback David Garrard less than a week before the season kicked off.

Nope, not one bit. It's all fine and dandy, according to Jags general manager Gene Smith, because the Patriots do that sort of thing all the time.

In a letter to the Florida Times-Union, Smith used one of the NFL's model franchises as an excuse for the public relations snafu. Not only was the move made after Jags coach Jack Del Rio insisted any questions about Garrard's status were off the table, ("Yeah, David's our starter," Del Rio said Aug. 23. "I said that all spring."), it was made immediately following Garrard's appearance at a team charity event on Sept. 6.

"Clearly, I'm not proud of how things played out on Tuesday and our players deserve better," Smith wrote in an email submitted Thursday.

In addition to claiming responsibility for the decision and its timing, as well as thanking Garrard for his nine-year career in Jacksonville, Smith made an odd connection between the Jaguars cutting their starting quarterback and the Patriots cutting a backup cornerback.

"The Tuesday afternoon deadline throughout the season is something every team deals with each week as they set their roster going into each game," Smith wrote. "The New England Patriots made a roster move prior to 4 p.m. on Tuesday as well, as they waived their second-round selection in the 2009 draft, Darius Butler [DC from UConn]."

Smith's point is valid, technically. Every team makes late cuts, the Patriots included. The glaring difference, of course, is that Butler wasn't a one-time team captain, the face of the franchise, a player whose image appears on billboards, season tickets and the banner of the team's website. Garrard was.

Here's a tip for Luke McCown, who inherited the job under center and led the Jaguars to a 16-14 victory Sunday: If the Jags invite you to any charity events, turn down the invitation.

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