Garcia signs with Eagles; McNabb rests
PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb is not ruling himself out for the Eagles' game against New Orleans next Sunday despite suffering a cracked rib on Sunday. Philadelphia got some insurance on Monday, just in case.
Eagles coach Andy Reid on Monday confirmed the team has signed Jeff Garcia, a 10-year veteran who played for Philadelphia in 2006 and went 5-1 in six starts while McNabb was injured.
"Whether it's a week or two weeks or the entire season, I'm excited about the opportunity," Garcia said in a conference call. "As far as a team I can go to and blend right in, this is the team for me to do that."
McNabb, who once played four quarters on a broken ankle, doesn't feel like the rib will keep him out.
"He's pretty sore," Reid said Monday. "He's going to try and battle through it. He'll struggle to practice. He's going to do everything he possibly can to try to play. We'll see how that goes. He's staying optimistic about that."
McNabb is keeping an open mind and doesn't plan to sit out.
"Not necessarily, anything can happen. It's just Monday right now, but if Friday and Saturday come along and I'm feeling a lot better, you just never know," he said. "It's a slow process of just meeting with our trainers, doing two-a-days with treatment, going through the process of just like I'm playing in the game, and seeing how I feel at the end [of the week]."
Third-year pro Kevin Kolb filled in for McNabb during Philadelphia's 38-10 victory over Carolina in the season opener. He would start against the Saints if McNabb can't play.
Reid said Garcia is a good addition for his team.
"We're lucky Jeff was available," Reid said. "He's someone who knows this offense and has been very successful in this offense. He can be a positive influence on Kevin Kolb."
Michael Vick is not eligible because he was suspended for the first two regular-season games as the last part of the NFL's penalty for his role in a dogfighting ring. Vick probably wouldn't start even if he could play because he's still rusty and Reid has maintained all along that Kolb is the backup.
Kolb hasn't moved the offense much in the few opportunities he's had, though he's never worked with the starters during a practice week. The Eagles could find themselves in a shootout against Drew Brees and the rest of New Orleans' high-octane offense, so they can't afford a slow start.
"I have full confidence in him," Reid said of Kolb. "I don't worry about his accuracy or knowledge of the offense right now. It's just a matter of getting caught up with the game speed of the regular season."
McNabb got hurt when he took a hard shot on a 3-yard TD run in the third quarter. He spun away from a defender at the goal line, but was nailed by Panthers nose tackle Damione Lewis on the ground in the end zone.
"I can't say anything on that," Reid said. "You get those 300-plus-pound guys motoring and it's hard to stop. Sometimes they come in a little bit late."
The NFL reviewed the play and ruled the hit was "not illegal," spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail.
"It's a rough game. We're not clamoring about Josh McCown. I mean he got whacked pretty good, too," Panthers coach John Fox said after reviewing the tape. "It's tough. I'm sorry he got hurt. I don't ever like to see any player get hurt, our team or theirs. It's unfortunate."
McNabb played an injury-free season last year for the first time since leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2004. He's missed 24 games, including playoffs, due to injuries during his first 10 seasons in the NFL. The Eagles are 14-10 in those contests.
Reid said McNabb doesn't have to practice to play this week.
"We've seen him do that before and play some pretty good games," Reid said. "We'll take it day by day. We just want to get him back healthy."
Reid isn't concerned that McNabb could exacerbate the injury by playing.
"It's broken. I don't think you can make that part worse," Reid said. "We just have to see how he can function. I'm not going to put him out there if he can't function.
"Rib injuries are all different. This one's displaced a little bit and pretty painful. I know other guys have played with broken ribs. They're all different. It's hard to compare."
If it's simply a matter of pain tolerance, as often is the case with broken ribs, McNabb proved a long time ago he's a tough guy. He broke his right ankle in the first quarter against Arizona on Nov. 17, 2002, stayed in and threw four touchdown passes. McNabb missed the next six games, but returned for the playoffs.
He sat out the final seven games in 2005 with a sports hernia and a torn ACL cost him the last eight games in '06, including the playoffs. McNabb didn't play two games in 2007 because of ankle and thumb injuries.
"Donovan is resilient," teammate Brian Westbrook said.
Garcia, who was signed by Oakland in the offseason to push JaMarcus Russell and serve as a mentor to the former No. 1 overall draft pick, was released by the Raiders on Sept. 5 after playing little in the preseason.
A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Garcia played well in his previous stint with the Eagles three seasons ago, throwing 11 touchdown passes against two interceptions in eight starts.
The 39-year-old Garcia began his career with San Francisco in 1999. He replaced Hall of Fame QB Steve Young, put up big passing numbers with Terrell Owens as his main target and led the 49ers to two playoff appearances in his first three seasons as a full-time starter.
Garcia stepped in when McNabb tore his ACL, led the Eagles to a 5-1 record, an NFC East title and a playoff win over the New York Giants. His final game with Philadelphia was a loss at New Orleans in the divisional playoffs.
In his brief time with the Eagles, Garcia completely won over the tough Philly fans with his fiery personality and win-at-all-costs attitude.
A company made up T-shirts featuring Garcia with his fists up in a boxer's stance above the caption: "A Fighter Fights."
The Eagles didn't re-sign Garcia after that season and he went to Tampa Bay. Garcia led the Buccaneers to the NFC South title in 2007 and earned a trip to Hawaii.
Garcia has thrown for 25,537 yards, 161 touchdowns and 83 interceptions in 124 career games. He's completed 61.6 percent of his passes and has a QB rating of 87.5. Garcia is 58-58 as a starter.
"I didn't want it to be over," Garcia said. "I feel there's a lot of quality football left in me."
McNabb, Vick and Garcia have been to a combined 12 Pro Bowls.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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