When Mark Grieb left the field in late July after the SaberCats lost in the Arena Football League playoffs, he knew he had played his last game. Thursday, Grieb made it official as the longtime quarterback announced his retirement.
"It's hard because I know that I'll never want to stop playing," said Grieb, 38, an Oak Grove High and UC Davis product. "I love everything about the game and playing in San Jose. But there comes a time when logic wins out and your body tells you that it's time to stop. It was fun while it lasted."
Grieb is more than just the best player in team history. In a transient league where players come and go, he has been the face of the franchise and a steadying influence on one of the league's best-run organizations.
A 13-season veteran, he was a member of three AFL championship teams. His name is all over the league and team record books, as he excelled in throwing quick passes with the pinpoint accuracy required in the arena game's smaller field.
For his career, Grieb threw for 47,901 yards on 3,885 completions -- both ranking second in league history. He also threw 922 touchdown passes.
"Mark is one of the best players to ever play this game, hands down," SaberCats coach Darren Arbet said. "He is a three-time champion and will always be a SaberCat. We as an organization are so thankful for all that he has done for this franchise."
The SaberCats already have a worthy successor to Grieb, having announced later Thursday the acquisition of Aaron Garcia, the all-time AFL leader in the majority of statistical categories for quarterbacks. Garcia, 42, started every game last season for the San Antonio Talons, who won the Central Division title with a 14-4 record. A native of Sacramento, he played collegiately at Sacramento State and was voted the Third Greatest Player of all-time by the AFL's Silver Anniversary Committee in 2012.
Although the SaberCats made an early exit from the playoffs last season, losing in the first round to Arizona, Grieb personally is leaving on a high note. He had the best statistical season of his career, completing 67.6 percent of his throws for 5,744 yards with 112 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
"Most people don't get to go out on top with that fairy-tale ending," Grieb said. "But I know that I did everything I could trying to win another title."
Grieb, who has a master's degree from Stanford, is teaching chemistry at Leland High. But he wants to coach.
The SaberCats' de facto offensive coordinator this season, Grieb also has been an assistant at Menlo College and at an Orange County high school while his wife was attending medical school. Grieb said he's open to coaching with the SaberCats, if they are interested.
Contact Mark Emmons at 408-920-5745.