Over the past five years, the Washington Redskins have chosen to forgo the acquisition of a superstar at the wide receiver position. By keeping smaller players, like WR Santana Moss and previous WR Antwaan Randle El, the Redskins created a pattern of relying on quickness and speed instead of size and strength. Of course, avid Redskins fans remember the attempt to add size with the drafting of WR Malcolm Kelly and WR Devin Thomas in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Now, with Thomas a Detroit Lion and Kelly a Free Agent, it is safe to say the attempt failed. Is it time to try again?
In May of 2012, WR Pierre Garcon signed with the Redskins for a five-year, $42.5 million contract with $20.5 million guaranteed. Number 88, Garcon is 6-feet tall and weighs in at 210 pounds. Although he is not the largest receiver in the NFL, he will be positioned to combine speed with strength for a new style of Redskins offense. In ten games with the Redskins in 2012, Garcon gained 633 yards on 44 catches with four touchdowns. One could be worried about Garcon’s six missed games, but with a look at his past NFL history — 80 games played in five years — it is obvious Garcon is not prone to injury. With the habit of Redskins players dropping like flies, a healthy Garcon becomes a valuable asset.
In a sports era of unscrupulous, morally depraved superstars, it is rare to find players who can healthily contribute to their organizations off the field. Garcon is one of those rare players. In 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, Garcon’s parents’ native country. Although Garcon had to focus on the NFL Playoffs, he still teamed with charity foundations to raise money and food as relief for those who were hit hardest in Haiti. He wore a Haitian flag as a bandana for a NFL interview and simply stated, “I hope I don’t get fined for it.” Where other players show up to interviews regularly in ridiculous outfits, ready to pay NFL fines, Garcon wore one bandana for a true cause and still respected NFL clothing policy. One year later, Garcon is still fundraising for Haitian relief and rebuilding. Furthermore, Garcon’s level of charity goes beyond relief for natural disasters.
In an effort to give back to the community, Garcon started The Pierre Garcon Helping Hands Foundation in 2008. Described as a way to give less-fortunate youth a promising opportunity at the future, the non-profit Foundation has paired with various charities and larger companies, such as Borders, to promote awareness and create fundraising. Just recently, Garcon paired with one of his sponsors — Russell Athletic — to give 450 football jerseys to three high-schools; one in Maryland, one in the District of Columbia and another in Virgina. All of Garcon’s charity works paired with the fact he has not been arrested or charged with any crimes, makes him an ideal off the field star for the Redskins.