AFL Great, Quarterback Aaron Garcia Joins SaberCats
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The SaberCats announced today that they have been assigned Northern California native, quarterback Aaron Garcia on a two-year contract. Garcia was voted the Third Greatest Player of all-time by the Arena Football League's Silver Anniversary Committee in 2012 and is the all-time AFL leader in the majority of statistical categories for quarterbacks. The AFL's open free agency period began on Monday Nov. 5.
"We thought it was very important to bring in a quarterback like Aaron to lead this team," said Owner/Head Coach Darren Arbet. "He is one of the greatest to play Arena Football and will be a key piece for us in 2013 as we aim to bring home our fourth ArenaBowl Championship."
Garcia (6-1, 195, Sacramento State) started all 18 games in 2012 for the 14-4 Central Division Champion San Antonio Talons. He completed 66.4 percent of his passes (405-of-610) for 4,985 yards and 118 touchdowns and threw only 16 interceptions.
The Sacramento native has made 205 career AFL appearances, has completed 4,436 passes for 55,013 yards and 1,196 touchdowns in his illustrious 17-year career, which are each all-time records in league history. After 15 postseason appearances, Garcia ranks second only to former SaberCats Hall of Famer Barry Wagner (225) in total Arena Football League appearances with 220.
A three-time First Team All-Arena selection (2000-01 and 2011), Garcia had arguably his most productive season in 2011 as a member of the Jacksonville Sharks. The Offensive Player of the Year completed 71.5 percent of his passes (402-of-562) for 4,934 yards and 116 touchdowns as he led the Sharks to an ArenaBowl Championship and a 14-4 regular season record. Garcia took home ArenaBowl Most Valuable Player honors in the thrilling last-second win over the Arizona Rattlers.
In his two seasons with the Sharks, Garcia was 25-8 in his 33 starts and completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 8,652 yards, 198 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He joined Jacksonville for their inaugural season in 2010 and led them to the postseason in both of his seasons in Northeast Florida.
Prior to his time in Jacksonville, Garcia spent eight seasons as a member of the New York Dragons (2001-08) for the entire run of their franchise following their relocation from Iowa and two-and-a-half seasons with the Iowa Barnstormers. He led the Dragons to the postseason five times and did so with the Barnstormers twice (1999-2000). He earned First-Team All-Arena honors in back-to-back seasons in 2000 with Iowa and in 2001 as a member of the Dragons, when he was also named the league's Offensive Player of the Year as he threw for a then-record 104 touchdowns and 4,515 yards.
Prior to landing with the Barnstormers in a mid-season trade, Garcia spent 1997 and the beginning of 1998 with the New Jersey Red Dogs where he appeared in 11 games. In 1996, Garcia made nine appearances for the Connecticut Coyotes, where he threw for 1,774 yards and 31 scores against just five interceptions. Garcia broke into the league in 1995, making the Arizona Rattlers roster after an open tryout and played in 11 games as a rookie.
Garcia broke National Football League Hall of Famer John Elway's California state high school records for passing yards (5,800) and touchdowns (57) in two seasons at Grant Union High School in Sacramento. Following a stellar prep career, he journeyed to Washington State University and became the starting quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 1989 in Pullman. Garcia led the Pacific-10 Conference in passing efficiency in his first season, throwing for 1,591 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Despite his early success, Garcia was benched midway through the 1990 season for a true freshman named Drew Bledsoe. He then decided to transfer back to his hometown in the form of Division I-AA Sacramento State, where he threw for nearly 1,800 yards and 13 scoring tosses in his final season as a Hornet, where SaberCats Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet was on staff.
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