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For Garcon, Hard Work Pays Off

Posted Mar 14, 2012

Last year in Indianapolis, Pierre Garcon was given a chance to prove himself without Peyton Manning. The Redskins' new wide receiver stepped up, posting career highs in catches and receiving yards.


Pierre Garcon raced into the end zone at FedExField, slipping past a LaRon Landry tackle to score a 57-yard touchdown.

To celebrate, he turned his back to the Redskins fans with end zone seats and pointed to the name on the back of his Indianapolis Colts jersey.

Was he trying to tell them something in that Oct. 17, 2010 game won by the Colts 27-24?

As in, 'Remember this name?'

Now that Garcon is a Redskin, having formally signed a free agent deal with the club on Wednesday, his touchdown celebration suddenly seems prescient.

Looking back on the play, Garcon can only laugh.

“When you’re on the field, you’re focused so much on getting into the end zone, so when you do score, it’s 'Okay, what do you do now?" he said. “[My celebration] is whatever comes out. None of it is planned, but it has grown over the years.”

Garcon hopes to be celebrating plenty more at FedExField in the seasons ahead.

The 6-0, 210-pounder was among the first free agents to agree to terms with a new team. He announced he would play with the Redskins on his Facebook page.

Garcon joined the Colts in 2008 as a sixth-round draft pick (205th overall) and gradually emerged as a playmaker. He was productive all four seasons, totaling 188 catches for 2,519 yards – a 13.4 yards-per-catch average – and 16 touchdowns.

It certainly helped that future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning was his quarterback his first three years in Indianapolis.

Garcon was given a chance to prove himself without Manning last season, though. Thanks to a work ethic established at Division III Mount Union, he proved he could catch passes from any quarterback.

Garcon started all 16 games last year and posted a career-best 70 catches for 947 yards and six touchdowns. He also had a career-long 87-yard touchdown catch.

“I just work hard and try to make big plays every time I get the chance,” Garcon said. “That’s my game – trying to help the team win, however I can, from catching a short pass to catching a deep ball, blocking downfield, doing everything.”

Garcon’s Indianapolis offense was often times a Manning creation. The veteran quarterback – who like Garcon is a free agent this offseason – would sometimes call an audible and motion to receivers to run certain routes at the line of scrimmage.

In Washington, Garcon will have to adjust to playing in the West Coast offense devised by head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

That shouldn’t be too hard. The system is regarded as a wide receiver-friendly scheme.

Said Garcon: “I think I can play in any offense. The Wing T, five-spread wide...I can play in any offense if I adjust my game to the strength of the offense and play to the best of my ability.”

And coaches believe Garcon’s run-after-catch ability should help the offense produce more big plays.

Garcon, who grew up in Green Acres, Fla., and went on to win two NCAA Division III college football championships at Mount Union, joins a Redskins wide receiver corps that has a mixture of experience and youth.

He is a new face alongside fellow free agent signee Josh Morgan.

Some of the other faces are bound to change once the roster is sorted out.

Garcon said he isn't focused on becoming a No. 1 receiver for the Redskins. In Indianapolis, he was regarded as a No. 2 playing alongside Reggie Wayne, but Manning treated every receiver the same.

Garcon said he expects the same approach in Washington, no matter who the quarterback is.

"[Being a No. 1] doesn’t matter, because we’re all on the field,” he said. “Anybody can make a play. It’s all about making plays and doing it week-in and week-out, helping the offense advance downfield. That’s why we’re on the field – everybody is No. 1 on the field.

“There is no second option or third option, it’s just making plays when your number is called.”