Former Jefferson star quarterback Stephen Garcia is coming home to Tampa Bay. Garcia had his share of issues at South Carolina, and he insists he learned his lessons the hard way as he goes pro with the Tampa Bay Storm.
"It's been a long and bumpy one, you know," Garcia says. "I had some highs and I had some lows. I had some workouts with the Bucs and you know I was sure I was gonna get invited to camp, and you know for whatever reason it didn't work out."
Garcia describes it as a trying time.
"You know that's when I was kind of at a low point and went out to Montreal and my head was all messed up, and just decided to give it one more shot. And you know, like I said, I'm very thankful for the Storm for giving me this opportunity," he said.
Eight years have passed since Garcia won a state title with the Jefferson Dragons, and it's been three years since he left the University of South Carolina.
That's given him plenty of time to reflect on past mistakes. Stephen Garcia can't change the past, but he can learn from the past.
"I learned how not to be so immature," Garcia laughs. "I was a bonehead, and you know, immature up there and just thought I could do whatever I wanted to and just didn't work out for me. Everything happens for a reason, so you know I'm just trying to not have that experience again."
Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels thinks everybody deserves a second chance.
"This is a stage to actually get out and prove to the Tampa Bay area that he can be a professional. Come out here and he's been doing a great job so far and we can't complain," Samuels said.
After playing for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, Stephen Garcia played for current Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman when was coaching in the Canadian Football League.
Garcia credits Trestman with salvaging his playing career, teaching him valuable life lessons.
"Just be a professional on and off the field, and I think that's something I'll always be grateful for him," he said.
Now, Stephen Garcia learns a new game. He has less time to "get the ball out" in the Arena Football League game. But, time has not run out yet on his dream for a career as a professional quarterback.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?