Grieb retires, SaberCats sign Garcia to two-year deal

Grieb retires, SaberCats sign Garcia to two-year deal
November 8, 2012, 11:36 pm
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SAN JOSE -- The SaberCats announced today that their all-time leader in a litany of offensive statistical categories, quarterback Mark Grieb, has retired from the Arena Football League. Grieb, a three-time ArenaBowl champion and two-time ArenaBowl Most Valuable Player, is the franchise leader in every major statistical category for quarterbacks and is likely sure-fire AFL Hall of Famer. The SaberCats will honor Marks career at a yet to be determined home game during the 2013 season.

"Mark is one of the best players to ever play this game, hands down," said OwnerHead Coach Darren Arbet. "He is a three-time champion and will always be a SaberCat. We as an organization are so thankful for all that he has done for this franchise and we wish him and his family nothing but the best moving forward following his playing career.

Grieb (6-2, 200, UC Davis) spent 12 seasons with the SaberCats (13 in the AFL), completing 3,885 passes (second most in AFL history) for 47,901 yards (second most in league history) and 922 touchdowns (third most in AFL history). He has amassed the highest quarterback rating in league history (121.5) for players with a minimum of 100 games played. Grieb appeared in 179 games with San Jose (187 overall) and started every game for the SaberCats since 2003, a record-string of 132 consecutive games.

First and foremost I want to say thank you to all of the fans that have come out to SaberCats games over the years and cheered us on with all of their enthusiasm and support, Grieb said regarding his 13-season AFL career. Secondly, thanks to all of the guys who I played with that sacrificed so much to play this game and made it such a great experience for me. Thank you to our ownership group for running such a first class organization and believing in me and finally, last but not least, thanks to the coaches who really gave me an opportunity and I learned so much from them.

The San Jose native became the first player in AFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in seven straight seasons (2004-08, 2011-12) and is the second quarterback to toss 100-or-more touchdown passes in consecutive years (2007-08). Grieb is the only player in league history to ever throw for 70-plus scores in nine consecutive seasons (2002-08, 2011-12). He also became the fifth player in league history to amass 700 career touchdown passes and finished with 922 under his belt. Grieb set a franchise mark with 476 completions, and set his own record for attempts at 704 last season.

In terms of accolades, aside from the biggest prize, three ArenaBowl championships and a pair of ArenaBowl MVP awards (2004 and 2007), there are plenty that have been earned by Grieb over his illustrious career. He was voted the 18th Greatest Player in AFL History and Third Greatest Quarterback by the leagues Silver Anniversary Committee in 2012, was named First Team All-Arena in both 2002 and 2005, Second Team All-Arena in 2004, Offensive Player of the Year in 2002, Offensive Player of the Month on four occasions, and Offensive Player of the Week on ten different occasions.

Apart from his legendary AFL career, which began in 1997 with the now defunct Anaheim Piranhas, Grieb also spent 1998 in NFL (National Football League) Europe with the Scottish Claymores and part of 2001 with the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL.

Grieb played three seasons at UC-Davis (1994-96); ending his career ranked in the top ten in six different offensive categories in school history. He was a Harlon Hill Award (Div. II MVP) finalist his senior year after throwing for a school record 3,320 yards and 25 touchdowns. Grieb was only the 26th football player at the time to have earned an NCAA Postgraduate scholarship.

A three sport star at San Joses Oak Grove High School, Grieb also played both basketball and baseball. He was a biochemistry major at UC-Davis and earned a Masters degree in Education from Stanford University. During the SaberCats hiatus from 2009-2011, Grieb earned teaching credential and taught high school biology in Southern California and is now teaching at Leyland High School in San Jose. He currently resides in the Bay Area with his wife Erin and their identical twin daughters, Ava and Madeline.

SAN JOSE -- The SaberCats announced today that they have been assigned Northern California native, quarterback Aaron Garcia on a two-year contract. Garcia was voted the Third Greatest Player of all-time by the Arena Football Leagues Silver Anniversary Committee in 2012 and is the all-time AFL leader in the majority of statistical categories for quarterbacks. The AFLs open free agency period began on Monday Nov. 5.

"We thought it was very important to bring in a quarterback like Aaron to lead this team," said OwnerHead Coach Darren Arbet. "He is one of the greatest to play Arena Football and will be a key piece for us in 2013 as we aim to bring home our fourth ArenaBowl Championship.

Garcia (6-1, 195, Sacramento State) started all 18 games in 2012 for the 14-4 Central Division Champion San Antonio Talons. He completed 66.4 percent of his passes (405-of-610) for 4,985 yards and 118 touchdowns and threw only 16 interceptions.

The Sacramento native has made 205 career AFL appearances, has completed 4,436 passes for 55,013 yards and 1,196 touchdowns in his illustrious 17-year career, which are each all-time records in league history. After 15 postseason appearances, Garcia ranks second only to former SaberCats Hall of Famer Barry Wagner (225) in total Arena Football League appearances with 220.

A three-time First Team All-Arena selection (2000-01 and 2011), Garcia had arguably his most productive season in 2011 as a member of the Jacksonville Sharks. The Offensive Player of the Year completed 71.5 percent of his passes (402-of-562) for 4,934 yards and 116 touchdowns as he led the Sharks to an ArenaBowl Championship and a 14-4 regular season record. Garcia took home ArenaBowl Most Valuable Player honors in the thrilling last-second win over the Arizona Rattlers.

In his two seasons with the Sharks, Garcia was 25-8 in his 33 starts and completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 8,652 yards, 198 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He joined Jacksonville for their inaugural season in 2010 and led them to the postseason in both of his seasons in Northeast Florida.

Prior to his time in Jacksonville, Garcia spent eight seasons as a member of the New York Dragons (2001-08) for the entire run of their franchise following their relocation from Iowa and two-and-a-half seasons with the Iowa Barnstormers. He led the Dragons to the postseason five times and did so with the Barnstormers twice (1999-2000). He earned First-Team All-Arena honors in back-to-back seasons in 2000 with Iowa and in 2001 as a member of the Dragons, when he was also named the leagues Offensive Player of the Year as he threw for a then-record 104 touchdowns and 4,515 yards.

Prior to landing with the Barnstormers in a mid-season trade, Garcia spent 1997 and the beginning of 1998 with the New Jersey Red Dogs where he appeared in 11 games. In 1996, Garcia made nine appearances for the Connecticut Coyotes, where he threw for 1,774 yards and 31 scores against just five interceptions. Garcia broke into the league in 1995, making the Arizona Rattlers roster after an open tryout and played in 11 games as a rookie.

Garcia broke National Football League Hall of Famer John Elways California state high school records for passing yards (5,800) and touchdowns (57) in two seasons at Grant Union High School in Sacramento. Following a stellar prep career, he journeyed to Washington State University and became the starting quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 1989 in Pullman. Garcia led the Pacific-10 Conference in passing efficiency in his first season, throwing for 1,591 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Despite his early success, Garcia was benched midway through the 1990 season for a true freshman named Drew Bledsoe. He then decided to transfer back to his hometown in the form of Division I-AA Sacramento State, where he threw for nearly 1,800 yards and 13 scoring tosses in his final season as a Hornet, where SaberCats Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet was on staff.

Courtesy San Jose SaberCats media services

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