49ers' Garcon ready to silence doubters
Pierre Garcon has been here before.
Hearing folks doubt his ability is nothing new. It’s followed him throughout his football career. So he wasn’t surprised when more questions were raised when he signed a big contract with the San Francisco 49ers in the offseason.
“Is he worth it?”
“Did they overpay?”
“Is he too old?”
Garcon, a wide receiver, has been in this position since he was a lightly recruited player in high school in Greenacres, Fla. He rose from the Division III ranks at Mount Union College to playing in a Super Bowl.
“Ever since I’ve been playing high school football, they always doubted me,” Garcon said. “That definitely is something that is inspirational to me. You can do whatever you set your mind to as long as you work hard.”
So the latest challenge of proving others wrong is just another chapter. On a recent Facebook post, Garcon appeared to send a message to the doubters by writing: “They still trying to tell me what I can’t do.”
“Coming from a Division III school, people would always say that I can’t make it,” Garcon said. “The next thing you know I’m playing in the Super Bowl and catching passes from Peyton Manning. Being in the league for 10 years now, people are still saying you can’t do this and you can’t do that. I enjoy working toward something to prove people wrong, to tell you the truth.”
Garcon, who turns 31 in August, returned home to his South Florida roots to spend the summer training for what will be the most scrutinized season of his career. After making a name for himself with the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins, the 49ers signed him to a five-year, $47 million contract. Garcon will make $16 million this season.
The question out there is whether he fit for a price tag usually reserved for a No. 1 receiver. He has topped 1,000 yards only twice and has never caught more than six touchdowns in a season.
“It’s kind of a good thing,” Garcon said of the doubters. “You go to a new team and you have to prove yourself all over again. You can’t just come in and live off your name. You’ve got to show them why you’re here. You’re a rookie or a freshman all over again.”
Garcon turned to childhood friend Jarrett Brown to help prepare for another attempt to disprove the naysayers. Brown is the founder of Created Player, an agency that trains local players ranging from college hopefuls to established NFL standouts. Among those to go through the program are New York Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas and quarterback Geno Smith, who both starred at Broward high schools.
Brown, a former quarterback who was the Sun-Sentinel’s offensive player of the year at Palm Beach Lakes in 2004, has noticed Garcon’s back-to-the-basics approach. Most of their workouts consist of simple exercises on Riviera Beach, the same place they roamed when they played at rival high schools.
“We played against each every year,” Brown said. “His work ethic has always been the same. That’s Pierre. He’s still putting in that work. He’s working out two or three times a day. At the end of the day, everybody knows the path that he took and how hard it was.”
The one advantage Garcon has in San Francisco is he reunited with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was his offensive coordinator for four seasons in Washington. Garcon called it the perfect fit and after years of proving others wrong, he has every intention of showing the 49ers they made a good choice.
“The San Francisco 49ers have trusted me at the age of 31 to keep playing at the level that I’ve been playing at,” Garcon said. “I thank them for taking a chance on me and I will work really had to make sure they’re happy with what I do because I don’t always want to prove people wrong. I enjoy proving people right, too.”