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Garcia Is Picked Up By Lions

Former 49ers QB Rejoins Mariucci

From News Services
Sunday, March 13, 2005; Page E06

The Detroit Lions and Jeff Garcia agreed to terms on a one-year contract yesterday, reuniting the quarterback with Coach Steve Mariucci.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Garcia was released by the Cleveland Browns on Feb. 22 after a tumultuous season. He went 144 of 253 for 1,731 yards, with 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 10 starts, while his relationship with then-coach Butch Davis became rocky. Garcia ended the season on injured reserve after tearing a knee ligament.

Before his disastrous year in Cleveland, Garcia spent five seasons with San Francisco and learned under Mariucci, who coached the 49ers from 1997 to 2002.

The 35-year-old Garcia earned his second straight Pro Bowl selection in 2001 with the 49ers, completing 62.7 percent of his passes and throwing for 3,538 yards and 32 touchdowns that season.

His addition should provide immediate competition for starter Joey Harrington. The former first-round pick was booed often at home and challenged regularly by Mariucci in 2004, and has been inconsistent throughout his career.

The Lions made it an offseason priority to find a veteran backup. They also lost reserve quarterback Mike McMahon, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday.

• VIKINGS: Minnesota signed veteran safety Darren Sharper to a four-year contract.

Sharper, cut by the Green Bay Packers in a cost-cutting move earlier in the week, started at free safety the last six seasons and ranks fifth in team history with 36 interceptions. He led the team with four interceptions last year and scored three defensive touchdowns.

The Packers tried to get Sharper to restructure his deal, but he balked at a pay cut, hoping he could make more on the open market than the approximately $2 million Green Bay was offering for 2005.

• BROWNS: Injury-plagued defensive end Courtney Brown will be released tomorrow if Cleveland is unable to restructure the former No. 1 overall draft pick's contract.

Brown, who missed the final 14 games last season after undergoing foot surgery, is due a $2.5 million roster bonus on Tuesday.

Cleveland also is looking to trade running back William Green, the team's first-round selection, 16th overall, in the 2002 draft.


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