ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Interim coach Dick Jauron designated
Jeff Garcia to start at quarterback for Detroit at quarterback
Sunday against Minnesota.
There had been speculation that Joey Harrington, or even rookie Dan Orlovsky, would start Sunday against the Vikings instead of the
35-year-old Garcia because team president Matt Millen said Monday
when he fired coach Steve Mariucci that he wanted to get more out
of younger players.
"I've played against Jeff a number of times, and he plays a
real tough, hard-nosed game," Jauron said Wednesday. "He's got
more experience, so that's really it. It wasn't anything that I
don't think Joey can do."
Neither quarterback has played well this season, one reason for
Detroit's 4-7 record.
Garcia has one touchdown pass and two interceptions in three
games, and Harrington, the third pick of the 2002 draft, has thrown
eight TDs and 11 interceptions in nine starts.
"The decision didn't come as a surprise to me," said Garcia, a
Pro Bowler with San Francisco. "I think everyone in the locker
room knows what the situation is and what it should be."
Harrington had started the previous four games -- with four TDs,
three interceptions and one victory -- after losing his job to
Garcia in October, when the veteran recovered from leg and ankle
The move back to the bench seems to be further evidence that
Harrington's future will not be in Detroit.
"I feel like I've had to fight to prove myself," he said.
"Any time you have a job taken away from you, you have to fight to
earn it back. You have to fight to earn back the right to play
again and the right to be here."
Meanwhile, cornerback Dre' Bly apologized to the team for being
critical of Harrington, who he had blamed for Mariucci's firing.
Harrington said Bly didn't apologize to him directly, but said
that didn't matter. Earlier in the week, Bly said Mariucci wouldn't
have been fired had Garcia been healthy enough to play ahead of
Harrington all season.
"I'm not ever going to validate what he said," Harrington
said. "I'm not going to get into a war of words with Dre'."