Jags release QB Garrard, name McCown starter

The Jacksonville Jaguars released veteran quarterback David Garrard on Tuesday, calling the move "purely a football decision."

The move, so close to Sunday's season opener against Tennessee, was somewhat of a surprise. Longtime backup Luke McCown will start the game, Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said during a press conference.

"As always, we seek to play with the best players and I think it's imperative we do what's best for the football team," Del Rio said in announcing the move. "This is purely a football decision."

Garrard had been Jacksonville's starting quarterback since he replaced Byron Leftwich under similar circumstances before the start of the 2007 season.

The Jaguars' fourth-round pick in 2002, Garrard has spent his entire career with the team, throwing for 16,003 yards, 89 touchdowns and 54 interceptions with a 61.6 percent completion percentage. He has also rushed for 1,746 yards and 17 scores through 86 games -- 76 starts.

He led the Jaguars to an 11-5 record in his first season as a starter -- advancing to the AFC's divisional round. It was the only time in his tenure he reached the playoffs, recording consecutive losing records before finishing 8-8 last season.