Garcia: 'I just pray for forgiveness'

ashain@thestate.comJanuary 12, 2012 

South Carolina Georgia Football

South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia passes over Georgia linebacker Cornelius Washington (83), who was upended by guard A.J. Cann (50) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Amis)

JOHN AMIS/AP

Watch the interview here

Former USC quarterback Stephen Garcia takes all the blame for his downfall at the school and will "pray for forgiveness" that a NFL team will trust him with a roster spot.

Garcia broke his three-month silence since being dismissed from the Gamecocks for failing an alcohol test -- a condition of remaining on the team after five career suspensions.

"It was 100 percent my fault, and I just put myself in a terrible situation that I wish I could have taken back," Garcia told the Bright House Sports Network in hometown of Tampa, Fla.

Garcia said he wished he listen more to the "higher ups" at USC: "I feel like I could get away with a lot more stuff that obviously I couldn't get away with."

Garcia, who received a bachelor's degree in sociology last year, said he had to adjust to life of being the quarterback at a state's major college team. He spent five seasons in Columbia.

"Everybody is looking at you all the time," Garcia said. "It's not everybody sees you Friday night and then you go about you business the rest of the week. You have every single person in that city and that state watching you at all times and it took me awhile to figure it out and learn it, but I think I finally figured it out."

The school's third-most prolific passer in history said he spoke with USC head coach Steve Spurrier recently to congratulate him on his 11-win season and successful knee-replacement surgery.

"He sounded really happy for me, and he likes the direction I'm heading in," Garcia said. He added that Spurrier said to call anytime Garcia needed anything.

Garcia said he understands why the public might have a bad perception of him, but he hopes a NFL team will take a chance and see that he has the skills to make the pros. He is working out at a gym near his home and will play in the Battle of Florida in Boca Raton on Jan. 21 that features NFL draft-eligible collegiate players with ties to the state.

Asked why a NFL team should trust in him, Garcia said: "I just pray for forgiveness. ... I feel like I'm a pretty good leader on the field. Off the field, I struggled with that in college. This is a whole new season, a whole new me."

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