Garcia defends leadership ability

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

BEREA (AP) - Jeff Garcia says he shows leadership through example, not by standing up at a team meeting.

The Browns quarterback has been criticized for failing to stand up at a meeting when interim coach Terry Robiskie asked the team's leaders to identify themselves. In a video of the meeting shown on local television, Garcia remained seated while quarterbacks Luke McCown and Kelly Holcomb stood along with about 20 other players.

''I've always been a leader wherever I've been,'' Garcia said on the team's Web site. ''I've stood up before this team in many other ways. I don't need to stand in front of them in a meeting to show that I'm a leader.''

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Garcia said he's frustrated by the team's 3-9 season. He said critical comments he's made all season about the team's offense and play calling have come out of frustration.

''I think there were a lot of other guys who shared the same opinion, and a lot of guys who told me afterward that, 'Hey, it's about time somebody says something or somebody speaks up,' but nobody else was speaking out publicly,'' he said.

''And maybe that wasn't the best way to handle it. But it just was coming at a time where as much as I tried to deal with it in-house, there weren't ever any adjustments being made.''

Asked if he's happy in Cleveland, he replied: ''Who's happy when you're not winning football games?''

Garcia, who injured his rotator cuff last month, is listed as probable on the injury report. But Robiskie said McCown will make his second career start Sunday at Buffalo.

Robiskie commented earlier in the week that Garcia ''said he was fine with it,'' but the veteran is clearly unhappy about sitting for a rookie.

''Well, that's not my decision. And it's again disappointing to me. It's frustrating to me. But that's a decision that's made by the coach,'' Garcia said.

Garcia signed a four-year, $25 million contract with the Browns before the season, but his future in Cleveland could depend on who the team eventually hires as its next coach.

Garcia said he feels he's been made a scapegoat for some of the team's problems, but is trying to salvage what's left of the season.

''I think that some of the things that have been done this year have been taken and turned into a real negative against me,'' he said. ''I've learned to have thick skin. I've learned to not pay attention to the things that are said outside of what this team is doing.''