Going into yesterday afternoon, Pierre Garçon was his own man, testing the waters of free agency for the first time in his young career. He wasn’t waiting for Peyton Manning to pick a team. He wasn’t waiting for any particular team to call.
He just embraced the insanity of free agency and waited for the first call.
“At 4 o’clock, phones just started ringing, and my first call was from Kyle [Shanahan],” he related in his first interview with the Redskins. “He called me up and told me how much he wanted me, and I was like, ‘I wanna be in Washington.'”
He’s taking his talents to the Potomac. Or the Chesapeake. He’s coming to Washington, folks.
Garçon instantly fits into the starting lineup, and brings fresh legs to a well-seasoned position on the team. Santana Moss will be 33 at the start of the season, and Jabar Gaffney will turn 32 during the season. Garçon fits the mold of a productive in-between for the vets and last season’s rookies.
“It’s gonna be a great new feeling, it’s gonna be a fresh new start,” he said today. “We got a lot of great receivers around us, and we’re gonna make things happen.
Part of what Garçon ‘makes happen’ is his ability to create yards after the catch. Even though he opens himself up to great contact and blindside hits, Garçon is unafraid to cut back to the inside for extra yardage, and finds seams running across the field.
He rumbled for 366 extra yards after the catch last year, more than one-third of his total yardage. And when he needs to fall down after a catch, he usually makes it worth it:
Garçon is also a dedicated individual off the field, both in the community and his family’s native Haiti. The island was struck with a major earthquake more than two years, and is still recovering from the disaster. Even though his family was largely unaffected, he’s been back as recently as 2010 to help aid in the recovery efforts.
On the NFL gridiron, Garçon joins fellow full-blooded Haitians Cliff Avril and Jason Pierre-Paul in the NFC, and laughed at the brotherhood that’s being established:
“There’s a lot of those guys out there…on the defensive side,” he said. “Haitian dudes like to run around and make tackles, I guess.”
He explained that while his countrymen are embracing American football (brought over from their family members in south Florida), “football” still means soccer on the island.
“It’s catching on slowly over there, but it’s hard to teach football to 17 and 18-year-olds. You have to grow up with football to really learn the finer points and rules. But it’s really starting to catch on, there.”
If he knows of any others with magnetic hands and 4.4 speed, he should buy them a plane ticket to Washington. I’m just saying.
Check out his first official interview as a member of the Redskins, with Redskins Nation’s Larry Michael, below:
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