The first batch of nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame have been announced for 2019 and among the seven former San Francisco 49ers players, quarterback Jeff Garcia made the list.
The other players are running back Ricky Watters, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, tight end Brent Jones, defensive lineman Bryant Young, linebacker Takeo Spikes and safety Tim McDonald.
Garcia’s been retired for the mandatory five-year period, so he’s now eligible, but it’s a bit surprising. While Garcia was the last 49ers quarterback to make the Pro Bowl (2002), his resume wasn’t something that screamed Hall of Fame. He was productive as a quarterback with the 49ers, and we all remember the NFC Wildcard game where he led the huge comeback against the New York Giants, but he also couldn’t get stability anywhere after leaving San Francisco. Following his exit from the 49ers, Garcia’s NFL career had him bouncing around the league, either getting released due to poor coaching/play, or in the Philadelphia Eagles’ case, to hold down the quarterback position until the starter returned.
Garcia has some more cuts to survive to make it in. The voting will cut down to 25 semifinalists in November and then the 15 finalists will be made in January.
A year ago, I was fortunate enough to interview Garcia where he detailed his exit from the CFL and rise in the NFL, taking over from Steve Young, and all the hurdles along the way. His play and the circumstances surrounding his departure from the 49ers may indicate he got a raw deal in his NFL career, so maybe he finally has a chance to get some respect.
Will Garcia make it to the semifinal cut in November?