Two of those mentors were Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison, Garçon’s former teammates with the Indianapolis Colts. Wayne and Harrison were Peyton Manning’s top two targets when Indy drafted Garçon in 2008.
Garçon was lucky enough to follow in the footsteps of Wayne and Harrison as he found his footing in the NFL. The former sixth-round pick recently described what it was like to have two prolific pass-catchers as his mentors in a sit-down interview with Jon Beason for CBS Sports.
“I ended up in the perfect place for receivers,” Garçon told Beason. “Went to Indy with Peyton, Reggie, Marvin, Dallas Clark — a bunch of veterans.”
Garçon played each of his first four NFL seasons with the Colts. He appeared in 14 games as a rookie, but he only caught four passes. His breakout season came in Year 2, when he started all but one game in which he appeared and caught 47 passes for 765 yards and four touchdowns.
The Colts made it all the way to the Super Bowl that season but lost to the New Orleans Saints. Wayne was the team’s leading receiver with 100 catches for 1,264 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Garçon spoke about what it was like to specifically learn from Wayne those first couple years in the league.
“It wasn’t a lot of pressure because I didn’t need to perform right away,” Garçon said. “It was like, ‘Hey, watch Reggie. Whatever Reggie does, you go do. When in walkthrough, Reggie’s lined up, go line up 10 yards behind him, just watch what he does, do all your pre snap reads and all that stuff.’
“Practice was a lot more pressure because I couldn’t mess up, didn’t wanna mess up, which was nerve-wracking every day after practice. I was like, ‘Man, they’re gonna cut me.’”
The Colts never cut Garçon, but he did depart in free agency in the spring of 2012, after starting all 16 games for a Colts team that was without Peyton Manning for the entire 2011 season. Coming off a career-best year, he signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract with the Washington Redskins.
In Washington, Garçon took on more of a leadership role. He led the entire league with 113 receptions in 2013 and eclipsed 4,500 receiving yards in five seasons with the Redskins, making him one of the team’s top contributors from 2012 until last season.
Now a 31-year-old veteran with the 49ers, Garçon has officially become the mentor. He's currently on injured reserve with a neck injury, so three of San Francisco’s six receivers on the active roster are rookies. The Niners also have a young quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo trying to settle in as the starter.
As a result, the lessons he learned in Indianapolis from his veteran teammates are more useful now than ever.
“Those guys put me on the right path, and I still use that now to continue to get better and pass along to the other guys that are on my team what Reggie and Marvin and those guys did for me,” Garçon said.
Even though he’s not currently on the field to show his young teammates how it’s done, Garçon has found other ways to flex his muscles as a mentor through his Helping Hands Foundation, which aims to improve education, health and community programs in Haiti.
Garçon, who is Haitian-American, feels the urge to offer his help because he remembers when he needed it himself.
“I was one of the kids in the neighborhood that needed advice or guidance to move to be where I’m at right now,” Garçon said. “Somebody helped me really be, to let out my full potential.”
Garçon hopes he is remembered as an NFL star who did everything he could to help as many people as possible. Just like Wayne and Harrison did for him, he will continue to lend a hand for others.
Source: 24/7 News | Kevin Boilard | December 7, 2017