"He's the whole package for Oakland because he [fits into] their pass game," says Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas. "They love to get him on a linebacker. His gift is putting moves on you to get into the open space and running that rock. He loves to make you look bad."
Garner has become popular among his teammates, gaining respect for his toughness and for understanding such nuances of his position as picking up blitzes and spotting a defense's flaws. He settled in with fellow backs Jon Ritchie, Tyrone Wheatley, Randy Jordan, Terry Kirby and Zack Crockett, a group that prides itself on its resilience. "Except for [four-year veteran] Ritchie, we've all been in the league at least seven years and gone through hard times, so we appreciate working together," Garner says.
Now that he's in the playoffs for the first time since 1996, Garner hopes the Raiders continue to play like a rejuvenated team when they travel to New England for Saturday night's divisional playoff against the AFC East-champion Patriots. "People had fallen out of love with us, but all we had to do was get our guns pointed straight again, and we did that," Garner said. "Now we're right in the middle of the race."
And Nari might have to wait awhile longer for that visit to Chuck E. Cheese's.