The New York Jets added veteran quarterback David Garrard to their active roster as a backup and mentor to rookie starter Geno Smith.
The Jets waived Brady Quinn yesterday to make room for the 35-year-old Garrard, who was added to the team’s exempt list on Oct. 10, two days after quarterback Mark Sanchez underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.
New York had two weeks to evaluate Garrard’s physical condition and decide whether to activate the former Jacksonville Jaguars starter, who last played in a National Football League game in 2010.
“He’s a consummate professional, a great guy on and off the field,” Smith, who has started the Jets’ first seven games, said of Garrard. “He’s a guy you love to be around. He brings another dimension to our quarterback room. He’s a veteran guy and has dealt with some of these experiences that I’m dealing with as a rookie.”
Garrard, who spent his first nine seasons with the Jaguars, signed with the Jets in March and then left the team two months later because of a recurring knee injury, saying it was swelling after practice and limiting what he could do.
From 2002 to 2010, Garrard started 76 games for the Jaguars, completing 62 percent of his passes for 89 touchdowns and 54 interceptions. He didn’t play the past two NFL seasons after undergoing surgeries on his back and left knee.
Smith, 23, has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,723 yards, eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions, while also rushing for a pair of scores. Smith has led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime in all four wins for the 4-3 Jets. He’s the only quarterback since the NFL’s 1970 merger with four game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in his first seven career games.
Matt Simms has been Smith’s backup all seven games, while Brady, a first-round draft pick in 2007, was inactive for six games as the Jets’ third-string quarterback.