The Jacksonville Sharks have completed what appears to be a blockbuster trade, returning Aaron Garcia to the team he led to his only championship.
The deal, confirmed late yesterday, will bring the 18-year veteran back to the Sharks, while sending former Garcia backup and current starting QB Bernard Morris to Orlando, along with LB Matt Marcorelle and offensive lineman Trevis Turner.
At age 43, Garcia (6’1”, 195 lbs.) experienced both highs and lows both in his career and in Jacksonville. He also experienced the Sharks-Predators rivalry from both sidelines. As the first ever quarterback in franchise history, he split the regular season series in 2010, winning the franchise home opener in Week 3. After guiding the team to a division title, Orlando quickly ended any chances of a debut championship, winning in Veterans Memorial Arena, 73-69, in the conference semifinals.
The next year was a different story. After finishing the 2011 regular season with a 71.5% completion percentage, 116 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions, and a season sweep against Orlando, Garcia beat the Predators again, avenging the previous year’s loss, en route to winning the American Conference and a spot in ArenaBowl XXIV. On the road against the Arizona Rattlers with the title on the line, Garcia set two ArenaBowl records by throwing for 402 yards and eight touchdown passes. Garcia sealed the victory in classic fashion, finding WR Jeron Harvey on a 10-yard touchdown pass as time expired for a 73-70 win.
After leaving Jacksonville before the start of the 2012 season, Aaron Garcia became a bit of a journeyman. He became the starter for the San Antonio Talons, who moved from Tulsa, and led them to an 11-game winning streak during a 14-4 season that ended with another conference semifinal upset, this time to the Utah Blaze.
The 2013 season was a completely different story. Garcia signed with the San Jose SaberCats. After a 3-2 start and a subpar performance on his end (24 TD, 13 INT), San Jose traded him to 0-5 Orlando. He got back on track quickly, leading the team to the playoffs while throwing 84 touchdowns against only 15 interceptions in his 13 starts.
Garcia began his Arena Football League career in 1995 with the Arizona Rattlers, coming out of Washington State University by way of Sacramento State. He remains the all-time professional leader with 1,304 touchdown passes, including five seasons of at least 100 (including the last three), and three more of at least 90.
In return, Orlando will get Bernard Morris, who has been the primary starter for the past two seasons, was the backup for Aaron Garcia in 2010 and the starter for the Pittsburgh Power in 2011. In his two seasons as a starter in Jacksonville, Morris threw 114 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions. Last season, he also added 11 touchdowns on the ground.
Another two-year veteran, LB Matt Marcorelle started 16 games for Jacksonville in 2013, finishing third on the team with 10.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Used at fullback in goal line and short-yardage situations, he also scored five times on offense.
Trevis Turner came to the Sharks during the 2013 season, and started six games on the offensive line before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 14 against Pittsburgh..
For more on the Jacksonville Sharks, including the latest news, updates, and transactions, log on to www.jaxsharks.com. For more on the rest of the Arena Football League, log on to www.arenafootball.com and www.arenafan.com.