There aren't many better situations to land in as a young NFL player than the one Pierre Garcon found himself in as a rookie with the Indianapolis Colts. Garcon, drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by Indy, landed on a roster slammed with talent, including quarterback Peyton Manning and receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, not to mention tight end Dallas Clark.
Garcon was not required to step in right away and make an impact, instead finding himself able, as he explained to CBS Sports Jon Beason, to learn from the veterans around him as he worked his way into the NFL.
"To get drafted was a blessing, and I ended up in the perfect place for receivers," Garcon explained. "I went to Indy with Peyton, Marvin, Reggie, Dallas -- a bunch of veterans where we just fall in line, like, hey this is what you're doing ... those guys went to the playoffs every year, went to the AFC Championships. It was a pass offense, so run your route, catch the ball, get the extra yards, follow what Reggie and Marvin are doing."
His job early on mostly consisted of "do what Reggie is doing," which is probably not as easy as it sounds.
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"It wasn't a lot of pressure because I didn't need to perform right away. It was 'Hey, watch Reggie, whatever Reggie does, you go do.' During walkthrough, when Reggie lines up, go line up 10 yards behind him and just do all your pre snap reads and all that stuff," Garcon continued. "Practice was a lot more pressure ... those guys put me on the right path and I still pass it along to the other guys."
That's a different life than your average first-round rookie wideout, who is oftentimes expected to step in and make an impact from the get go.
For Garcon, the ability to learn from other veterans would not only mirror his own life as a young kid, but it would pave the way for him when he headed to the Redskins -- and then later the 49ers -- as a free agent, as he was able to provide advice to the younger players on the roster.
"It was fun, it was exciting, it was a great opportunity, because we had Robert [Griffin III]. I knew regardless of what happened, it's not going to be perfect, it's not going to be like we structured it," Garcon recalled. "I knew I had to do my part, catch the ball, get more yards than I was supposed to get on any play, because that shows effort, it shows passion. Everyone sees that on film and says, 'Hey this is how it's supposed to be done.'"
But it really all comes full circle when Garcon does his work with his foundation, "Helping Hands," because he is able to give back to younger people who need advice, or need help or need mentoring.
"I was one of the kids in the neighborhood that needed advice and guidance to be where I'm at right now. And somebody helped me to really ... allow my full potential," Garcon remembered. "And that's what my foundation is about, "Helping Hands," we help out however we want to in the community, from rebuilding playgrounds to football camps to turkey giveaways to bike giveaways. Just being around and helping somebody who needs it, just giving an upper hand and making their lives a little easier so they can accomplish their goals."
Garcon, like those kids and like himself as a rookie, needed help when he was a kid to achieve his dreams and target his goals. That led him to a prolific career as an NFL wide receiver, which led him to a fulfilling life, which led him to a situation where he is able to give back to the community.
Source: CBS | Will Brinson | November 4, 2017