Rich Cimini | ESPN.com
The veteran journeyman, whose chronic knee condition forced him to retire in May — only two months after he signed a one-year contract with the Jets — took a physical and was removed from the reserve-retired list.
By rule, the Jets have 10 days to decide whether to activate him to the 53-man roster.
Currently, he has a roster exemption. He will attend meetings and practice with the team.
The move comes two days after the Jets announced season-ending surgery for former starter Mark Sanchez. They already have three quarterbacks on the roster — rookie Geno Smith, Matt Simms and veteran Brady Quinn, whose roster spot is in jeopardy now that Garrard is in the picture.
Garrard signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract in March, which included a $100,000 signing bonus. At the time, the Jets felt so good about him that, privately, they thought he could emerge as the opening-day starter. If not, they envisioned him as the ideal mentor for Smith, who was drafted one month later.
But Garrard’s surgically repaired knee was in such bad shape that he couldn’t make it out of the OTAs.
“I was able to take the whole summer off and let my body heal,” Garrard said in a statement. “I started training a couple of months ago, and my knee feels great. I’m sitting at home, watching games thinking, ‘Why am I at home? Why I am doing this to myself?’ I didn’t want to have any regrets one day.”
Garrard said he reached out to general manager John Idzik requesting a return.
“He has given me another chance,” Garrard said, “so it’s truly a blessing.”
Garrard played nine seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2010. He sat out the 2011 season after back surgery, and a comeback attempted last year with the Miami Dolphins ended when he underwent knee surgery in the preseason.
- Longtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News
- Syracuse University graduate