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Jaguars GM Smith: Put Garrard's awkward release on me

Two days after the controversial release of quarterback David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith took full responsibility for the awkward timing.

Garrard's release Tuesday came two hours after the team introduced him as its starting quarterback at a kickoff luncheon at the chamber of commerce.

In an email sent to The Florida Times-Union on Thursday, Smith wrote: "Ultimately, it was my decision. Clearly, I am not proud of how things played out on Tuesday and our players deserve better, but I think to understand the situation, you need to know the facts."

Smith then offered a chronolgy of Garrard's release, starting with a meeting between Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, coach Jack Del Rio and himself.

"Wayne, Jack and I did sit down Tuesday morning and the decision was finalized at approximately 10:40 a.m.," Smith wrote. "Wayne and I had an 11 a.m. speaking engagement prior to the 12 noon kickoff event. I endorsed having David participate in the event due to the time constraints and circumstance. It was not my intent to be insensitive to a man and a family I have great admiration for. Immediately after the event, Jack and I (and then Wayne) sat down with David to discuss the decision that was made in the best interests of the team."

Added Smith: "As it relates to the kickoff event or really any of the events that took place Tuesday, I take full responsibility. Obviously, it would have been easier and would have made the release seamless had we done it over the weekend."

Smith, however, called change a fact of life in the NFL.

"So if Wayne decided after our final game or after the draft in April that I'm no longer in this organization's future plans, I'm not going to focus on the ending," Smith wrote. "I'm going to focus on the beginning and be grateful for the opportunity that was entrusted to me almost 18 years ago."

The Jaguars have faced heavy criticism for cutting Garrard so close to Sunday's season opener against the Tennessee Titans. Former Jaguars defensive end Hugh Douglas lambasted Del Rio more than Smith, saying in a radio interview, "If there was ever a coach who needs to be punched in the face for not being truthful to his players, it has to be Jack Del Rio."

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