09/26/2011 2:14 PM -
The Jacksonville Sharks announce Monday, September 26, 2011 that quarterback Aaron Garcia, 2011 Offensive Player of the Year and ArenaBowl XXIV MVP, has chosen not be assigned to the Sharks to test the free agent market.
The Sharks' signal caller looks to return for his 18th season in the Arena Football League after winning his first ArenaBowl title in 2011. However, it will not be with the team he has been with for the past two seasons. Rather than returning for a third season on Sea Best Field, Garcia will, instead, test the waters of free agency in hopes of being closer to his family.
"We will forever be indebted to Aaron for being an integral part of launching our franchise," said Sharks Managing Partner Jeff Bouchy. "He was an invaluable part of bringing two division titles and the first professional football championship to the city of Jacksonville. One day, when he decides to hang up his pads, the number 8 will be hanging from the rafters at Sea Best Field. He will forever be a part of Shark Nation and we wish him well as he continues his career."
"It was a pleasure and a privilege to have had AG as our starting QB our first two seasons," said Sharks head coach Les Moss. "I enjoyed every aspect of working with him to bring a championship home to Jacksonville. We could not have done it without his play and leadership on and off the field. I have only seen his tremendous will and desire to win in a few players throughout my career. I wish him nothing but the best."
Garcia added, "I want to thank everyone in Jacksonville for an incredible two years on and off the field. It was truly a pleasure and I wish Coach Moss, the ownership group, my teammates and all of the fans continued success in the years to come. It was a very difficult decision to leave Jacksonville, but at the end of the day I had to make the decision that I feel is best for my family and my future both on and off the field. It was an incredible feeling to be a part of bringing Arena Football and a world championship to such a great city."
Monday started the free agency period for the Arena Football League, ending the exclusive signing period. During the 20 day exclusive period, player assignments could only be made if they were on the team roster at the end of the previous season. During the exclusive period, the Sharks returned kicker Marco Capozolli, defensive back LaRoche Jackson and offensive lineman Jason Thomas.
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and back-to-back South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season tickets for the 2012 season are now available, two tickets as low as $135. To reserve your season tickets or for more information please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and Twitter @jaxsharks and the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance