New York (PRWEB) August 19, 2008
In the second major signing of a veteran marquee quarterback by a New York pro football team in a week's span, the New York Dragons today announced they have re-signed Aaron Garcia to a one-year contract.
Garcia, named in 2006 as one of the 20 greatest players in Arena Football League history, has set numerous passing records over his 14-year career, firmly establishing him among the league's marquee players. Garcia, 37, has played for the Dragons since the team's inaugural 2001 season.
"In our quest to deliver top-flight arena football to sports fans throughout the New York metropolitan area, the re-signing of Aaron Garcia is the linchpin," said Steven Silva, Managing Partner of the Dragons, who spearheaded a New York investment group's purchase of the team last month. "Aaron's presence is the foundation of the high caliber of football we intend to showcase in our push to wrest the AFL championship from Philadelphia. With Aaron in the fold, we'll soon announce other steps to ensure that the Dragons' presence reverberates among not only our AFL competitors, but also New York sports fans looking for an interactive, affordable, family-oriented and fast-paced football experience."
Garcia is one of only four professional football players in history to have thrown for more than 800 touchdowns. During the 2009 season, which opens in late February, the team is planning to commemorate Garcia's march to the 900- and 950-TD plateaus. Garcia threw for 3,500 yards and 78 touchdowns in the 2008 season. The Dragons reached the 2008 AFL playoffs but were eliminated from Arena Bowl contention in the second round by Philadelphia, the eventual AFL champion. The Dragons have reached the playoffs in three of the past four seasons.
"I'm excited to continue my New York career and help our young team take the next step in our bid to win a championship," said Garcia, who's entering his 15th AFL season. "The sting of last season's playoff loss to Philadelphia and the controversial call that played such a key part in the game's outcome still lingers. My teammates and I still have some unfinished business to take care of. I believe we're on the verge of a special 2009 season, given our mix of youth, athleticism, toughness and experience. The backing of new ownership, coupled with our strong play, can only help entrench the Dragons into the mainstream of the New York sports and entertainment scenes. I want to be a key part of that effort."
Following a 2001 season, capped by being named Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Arena, Garcia signed with the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL. He returned to the AFL for the 2002 season and continued to shatter virtually every passing record in existence.
"The re-signing of Aaron Garcia illustrates the new ownership's commitment to building a consistent winner and dynamic football team for New York sports fans," said head coach Weylan Harding, who has been at the Dragons' helm since the 2005 season. "Aaron is, quite possibly, the most exciting player in the game today and, without a doubt, the game's most prolific passer. I can't wait to start our 2009 camp and begin to lay the groundwork for an offense that will feature not only the game's best quarterback, but also a group of dynamic young receivers, including Keron Henry, Jason Willis and Terry Moss."
Garcia played college football at Washington State and Sacramento State, before embarking on his AFL pro career in 1995 with the Arizona Rattlers. While attending Grand High School in Sacramento, Calif., he broke John Elway's California state high school passing yardage and touchdown records.
In July 2008, the New York Dragons were acquired by a New York investment group, led by Steven Silva. The previous owner was Charles Wang, who bought the Iowa Barnstormers and moved the team to New York in 2001. The Dragons play home games at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. The 2009 regular season will run from late February through mid-June, followed by the playoffs through July. For more information, visit http://www.newyorkdragons.com.
The football used in Arena Football is the same size and weight as that used in the NFL. But the two leagues diverge from there. Arena Football is played on a field 50 yards in length and 85 feet wide. Sideline barriers, similar to the look of hockey boards, are four-feet high and made of high-density foam rubber. Fans keep any footballs that make their way into the stands. Eight players, including four allowed on the line of scrimmage, play on offense, while eight, including three down linemen, line up on defense. For more information, visit http://www.arenafootball.com.
Note to editors: For information on securing media credentials to pending New York fan-based interactive events in the fall (tied to finalizing the Dragons' 2009 roster) and home/away locker room and travel access as a Dragons' beat reporter covering the 2009 season, please contact Chief Operating Officer Tim Kelly, 516-582-9045, or tmk824 @ hotmail.com.
For more information, contact Sean Healy, 201-857-2520; sean @ healycorp.com