Former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia is returning to the NFC West.
The St. Louis Rams hired the Gilroy native to the position of offensive assistant, Garcia wrote on Twitter late Tuesday.
Garcia interviewed with Rams coach Jeff Fisher in February for the opening at quarterbacks coach. Fisher hired 2000 Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, the former director at IMG Academy, where he has worked with Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill and others, Fisher said.
But Fisher said at the NFL scouting combine he was equally impressed by Garcia – so much that the Rams created a coaching position for Garcia three months later.
“It was almost as if he was getting ready to go out and play a game,” Fisher said in February. “He’s just that guy. He’s so competitive. Throughout his career, people said he couldn’t do what he did. He takes great care of himself. He’s passionate about the game. He loves the game. His dad was a coach. It’s in him.
“He understands the system, the West Coast system and how it’s morphed. He’s familiar with it. He understands how difficult it is to see. Back there, taking snaps, it’s hard to see. But he also understands the game and preparation and loves competing.”
Garcia earned selections to the Pro Bowl four times in his 10-year NFL career, including three consecutive seasons while with the 49ers. He still holds the 49ers single-season record with 4,278 passing yards in 2000. He was undrafted out of San Jose State and did not get his first NFL opportunity until Bill Walsh gave him a chance with the 49ers after five seasons in the Canadian Football League.
Garcia, 45, has worked with high school, college and such professional quarterbacks as Mark Sanchez, Tyrod Taylor and Matt McGloin in San Diego in recent years. He spent several months last season as quarterbacks coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL.
Although interested in joining the staff of new 49ers coach Jim Tomsula, Garcia was not granted an interview for any coaching position with his former team.
In December, Garcia told CSNBayArea.com he would like to work with Colin Kaepernick, who chose instead to spend 10 weeks in Arizona mostly with quarterbacks coach Dennis Gile with weekly visits from Kurt Warner. Garcia said his goal was to transition from an independent instructor into a position with an NFL team and, ultimately, become a head coach.