LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The Washington Redskins announced today that they have selected wide receiver Pierre Garçon as the team's 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year. Garçon's selection qualifies him as one of 32 candidates to receive the league-wide award, an honor given annually by the league to recognize a player's community service and volunteer efforts as well as his excellence on the field.
Since being drafted, Garçon has been passionate about helping with multiple deserving children's causes. In 2008, he founded the Pierre Garçon Helping Hands Foundation with the goal to use his newfound celebrity and ability to help those in need. This charitable work has continued throughout his time in the Washington, D.C. metro area, including the Pierre Garçon All-White Party raising nearly $400,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs since its inception with support from the entire Washington Redskins organization.
This year, Garçon, has supported the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation by dedicating his off days to multiple events including Teacher Appreciation Kickoff, Salute to Play 60, Redskins FITT Fuel Up to Play 60 Combine and Redskins Harvest Feast.
"Pierre's passion for making his community a better place to live is unparalleled," Jane Rodgers, Executive Director of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation said. "It is always special to have Pierre participate in a Redskins Charitable Foundation event because he brings so much joy to the children we serve and you can tell he genuinely enjoys the experience."
Garçon remembers the help he got from community volunteers when he was growing up, his inspiration to affect change.
"I grew up in our church and we played sports all the time," he recalled to NFL Player Engagement. "We always had somebody to take us to church, take us to school programs. The guy that always picked us up, without him, I wouldn't be where I am now. I want to put out what he put into me."
In addition to his work with children's causes, Garçon has always supported his family's homeland, Haiti. When Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake in 2010, Garçon launched into action to raise money and awareness. He has continued to look for ways to shine a spotlight on the challenging living conditions in Haiti and commits to mission trips each year.
Recently, following Hurricane Matthew's destruction earlier this season, Garçon made an effort to be on the forefront of the Redskins' relief efforts. He traveled to Haiti on Monday, Oct. 10, focusing on bringing medical supplies and bottled water to Hospital Bernard Mevs.
Garçon joined the Redskins as a free agent in 2012 and has played in 70 regular season games and two postseason games played since his signing. Since 2012, no member of the Redskins has recorded more receptions than Garçon (356), including a league-leading and team-record 113 receptions in 2013.
The prestigious Man of the Year award has been given annually since 1970. The award was renamed in 1999 for legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton.
Past Redskins winners of the Walter Payton Man of the Year include: Ryan Kerrigan, 2015; Darrel Young, 2014; Alfred Morris, 2013; Joshua Morgan, 2012; Lorenzo Alexander, 2010-11; London Fletcher, 2008-09 (selected as NFL finalist in 2009); Rocky McIntosh, 2007; Renaldo Wynn, 2006; Shawn Springs, 2005; Chris Cooley, 2004; Darnerian McCants, 2003; Eddie Mason, 2002; Chris Samuels, 2001; Darrell Green, 1996 (won the national award); and Joe Theismann, 1982 (won the national award).