Aaron Garcia returns to the Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks announced Monday that quarterback Aaron Garcia will return to the Sharks following a trade with the Orlando Predators. In the deal, Jacksonville is set to receive Garcia, while Orlando receives quarterback Bernard Morris, defensive lineman Matt Marcorelle and offensive lineman Trevis Turner. The trade has not yet been made official, pending league approval that is expected to take place later Monday.
Over his 18-year Arena Football League career, the 43-year-old Garcia (6’1”, 195) has firmly entrenched himself as one of the league’s all-time greatest signal-callers. As the first starting quarterback in Jacksonville franchise history, Garcia led the Sharks to back-to-back division titles in 2010 and 2011.
After a first-round playoff exit in 2010, Garcia rebounded with perhaps the greatest season of his career, completing 71.5 percent of his passes as he tossed 116 touchdown passes against 17 interceptions during the 2011 regular season. Garcia then took the Sharks through the first two rounds of the playoffs, earning a spot in ArenaBowl XXIV against the Arizona Rattlers. In that game, Garcia established a two ArenaBowl record with 402 passing yards to go along with his eight touchdown passes. Garcia capped that ArenaBowl performance with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jeron Harvey as time expired, lifting Jacksonville to a 73-70 victory.
Since he last played with Jacksonville, Garcia spent time with the San Antonio Talons, San Jose SaberCats and Orlando Predators over the last two years. In 2012, he established a new career high with 118 touchdown passes in his first and only season with the Talons. This past season, Garcia was traded to Orlando partway through the campaign. Taking over a Predator team that was sitting at 0-5, Garcia helped carry Orlando into the No. 3 seed in the American Conference. Between the Predators and SaberCats, Garcia tossed a total of 108 touchdown passes in 2013, the third straight season in which he has accomplished that feat.
For his career, Garcia has racked up 1,304 career touchdown passes, a total unmatched in all of professional football. He has thrown 100 or more touchdown passes in five different seasons and accounted for 90 or more scores in three others. Garcia’s storied AFL career began with the Arizona Rattlers in 1995. Prior to becoming a professional, Garcia completed his collegiate career at Sacramento State University after transferring from Washington State.
Morris served as the Sharks’ primary starting quarterback for each of the past two seasons, leading Jacksonville to back-to-back Conference Championship Game appearances. Over those two seasons, Morris threw a total of 114 touchdown passes against 23 interceptions. The four-year veteran broke into the AFL with the Sharks, serving as Garcia’s backup in 2010 before spending one season with the Pittsburgh Power.
A two-year veteran, Marcorelle started 16 games for Jacksonville in 2013, finishing third on the team with 10.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also chipped in on offense as a short-yardage run threat, scoring five touchdowns. A mid-season addition in 2013, Turner started six games along the Sharks’ offensive line before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 14.
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