David Garrard may have retired from the NFL in May, but he didn't stop playing football.

During the summer the 35-year-old, whose knee swelling forced him to leave the Jets after signing in March, would practice with his wife in their yard. Garrard's wife, Mary, is the quarterback of a women's flag football team in Florida. Garrard would practice throwing to Mary, and then the two would switch roles.

Garrard said that over time, he realized his knee was better and he was fit to compete.

“I was running a lot of routes for her, and that's what told me I could still play,” Garrard told Jane McManus of ESPN, “because I was doing a lot of cutting out there. When you run receiver routes you’re cutting all the time, and I never had any setbacks.”

Garrard kept in touch with the Jets throughout the fall, and several weeks ago the organization brought him in as a backup and a mentor to rookie Geno Smith.

''I'm 35, so I'm not so old that it doesn't make any sense,'' Garrard said. ''I know I have some years left in me.''

Earlier this week the Jets cut backup Brady Quinn and activated Garrard. He says he'll be prepared to play should Smith go down. A 2009 Pro Bowler who has thrown for more than 16,000 yards in his career, Garrard has not played a down since the 2010 season.

For Mary Garrard, her husband's signing is bittersweet. While she is surely excited that he is back in the NFL, she will miss having someone to throw to in the yard.