The Miami Dolphins released quarterback David Garrard on Tuesday, ending his quest to start for an NFL team after spending the last season out of the league. The veteran had just returned to practice on Monday after missing three weeks following knee surgery.
Fox Sports first reported the Dolphins' decision to cut Garrard. His agent, Al Irby, confirmed the release. Garrard tweeted Tuesday afternoon, "To all the dolphins fans thx for ur support! Best of luck to all my teammates. Thx for making me feel at home!! Phins up!!"
The Dolphins signed Garrard in March to compete with returning QB Matt Moore for a starting job. Garrard sat out the 2011 season after the Jacksonville Jaguars cut him, opting to undergo back surgery and get healthy for 2012.
Though the Dolphins drafted QB Ryan Tannehill with the eighth pick of April's NFL Draft, Garrard seemed like the passer most likely to start the Dolphins' season opener as recently as a month ago.
But then Garrard underwent knee surgery in August to "take out loose things floating around," as he put it. That kept him from getting reps with the first team offense, and allowed Tannehill to snatch the starting job.
Garrard's $2.25 million contract would have become guaranteed had he made the Dolphins' opening day roster. The team has very little salary cap space, making it pretty clear that the move to cut Garrard, and not Moore or Devlin, is money-related.
"I honestly don't even know what's going on," Garrard said after Monday's practice when asked about his status. "There are still enough teams in this league to play for if it is not here. But I'm excited about here. I'm excited about being on this team, and hopefully I'll still be here."
Though other teams will balk at adding a quarterback with a bum knee, Garrard could catch on with another team as a backup. "I'm still trying to get my strength back in that leg, which is what I'm really fighting through right now," he said.
The move means the Dolphins will likely keep Moore as the backup, with second-year QB Pat Devlin serving as the emergency third quarterback. The team was rumored to be angling Moore for a trade last week, but no deal appears to have materialized.