David Garrard seeks 'committed' team

David Garrard has a message for everyone: He has the desire to play quarterback in the NFL this season, just not for the Miami Dolphins under the present circumstances.

"There's been a lot of speculation about me that I don't appreciate," said Garrard on Saturday. "I was going to lay low with the media but I feel I have to protect my name. I just want to make it clear that I'm a football player, I want to be with a team and be with an organization that will be as committed to me as I will be to them."

Garrard admitted the Dolphins were one of the teams that initially contacted him after being abruptly released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 6 and again this week when Miami starter Chad Henne went down for the season with a shoulder injury.

"I talked to them in the very beginning -- they were one of the teams that were very interested," said Garrard. "But they basically said, 'We want to give our guy (Henne) a chance, see how he performs and if we don't like way it goes, we'll make a move.' Then it comes when (Henne) unfortunately gets hurt. My feeling is if you want me, prove it to me."

Consequently, Garrard wanted to reconcile conflicting reports that he declined the opportunity to sign with the Dolphins because of money, as well as his lack of desire to play.

"They were not willing to guarantee me the kind of money that reflects a real commitment and what I believe would protect me from being cut twice in one season," Garrard said. "That doesn't mean I'm one of those players who thinks I'm worthy of another big pay day. My thoughts are the money I did want guaranteed the rest of the year was miniscule with respect to what I accomplished over my career. It wasn't outrageous."

On the lack of desire to play, he indicated he was not prepared to embrace the Dolphins' instability after a 0-4 start without a reasonable financial commitment.

"I didn't think I have ability to change an organization in that situation," Garrard said. "I'm just one man. This is a team sport. I told them I've been part of locker rooms with teams that are struggling. I know how the vibe can be in there and it's tough.

"Maybe if I had started the season with them, it would be different. The concept of coming in under these circumstances and fast-tracking me to play -- I have no history with that. Is the head coach (Tony Sparano) going to be there in two weeks? Then what? I prayed about this and there are just too many things in my heart and mind that says this is just not something I feel I can put my family through."

Garrard, 33, said his wife Mary is 13 weeks pregnant with their second child. However, he sounded emphatic that bypassing an opportunity with the Dolphins at this moment does not mean he has closed the door on playing again this season.

"Hey, I'm working out and I'm throwing to (former tight end) Kyle Brady," Garrard said. "He wanted to lose a few (pounds) and he's running all the routes for me from wide receiver and tight end positions. People ask me about my back problems. My back is fine. In fact, once I got into camp (with the Jaguars), my back stopped bothering me.

"Here's the bottom line: I'm staying in shape. I'm taking care of my body, my legs, my arm -- I'm having regular massage treatments. I'm ready to play. I'm ready for the right opportunity. This (with the Dolphins) just isn't the right opportunity."

Garrard did not identify other teams that have contacted him or his agent about playing this year.

Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.