SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon begins his nationwide "revenge" tour Sunday when the Niners visit the Indianapolis Colts. It will continue in Week 6 when the 49ers travel to Washington to face the Redskins. Those are the two teams Garcon played for before signing with the Niners in the offseason.
OK, so calling it a revenge tour is overstating things. In fact, Garcon said Wednesday he is looking forward to returning to Indianapolis. It's the place that gave him his start and where he grew up in the NFL.
"It's always cool to go back where you started," Garcon said. "A lot of guys, a lot of staff that I played with are still there. It's always good to see those guys. It's cool to get back to where it all started. It's another game; I played there before with D.C. but it’s always good to get back to Indy. Indy is a great town, the people are nice.
"At the end of the day, you have to get out there and play football and do our jobs."
While Garcon reuniting with the Colts for the second time will likely be overshadowed by the Niners taking on running back Frank Gore for the first time since he departed after a decade with the team, it's still a meaningful trip for Garcon.
In going back to Indianapolis as a member of a Niners team still seeking its first victory of the season, Garcon actually has a prime opportunity to tap into some of the biggest things he learned from his four years with the Colts.
After arriving as a sixth-round pick in 2008, Garcon walked into one of the best situations possible for a wide receiver. At the time, Indianapolis was firing on all cylinders with quarterback Peyton Manning in his prime. The Colts won 36 regular-season games in Garcon's first three seasons, as he took a master class in all the intricacies of football from the likes of Manning, Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison and others.
"It was definitely a good group to learn from," Garcon said. "I definitely was lucky to fall in and catch that group before they all left Indy or got older, but it was a great place for me to start my career being a professional because all those guys in that locker room were professionals."
In four seasons with the Colts, Garcon posted 188 catches for 2,519 yards and 16 touchdowns. It was enough to land him a lucrative contract with the Redskins and, eventually, another one with the 49ers.
Upon returning to Indianapolis this weekend, the 31-year-old will get a chance to catch up with Manning, whom the Colts are honoring with a statue and retired jersey No. 18.
To this day, Garcon still credits Manning with teaching him some of the most important lessons in his career.
"I learned a lot from him," Garcon said. "From preparation to reading defenses to being on top of everything from audibles to the playbook. Being prepared for everything is something you have to do when you are playing with him because he could call anything at the line of scrimmage and you have to know it."
Through his first four weeks this season, Garcon has already proved to easily be the Niners' best wide receiver and probably their top skill-position player. Despite teams sending coverages his way -- Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson shadowed Garcon for most of the Week 4 game -- Garcon has still found ways to get open, and to occasionally make plays when he's not open.
Beyond his 20 receptions for 285 yards, Garcon is also expected to be a steadying force in a locker room desperately seeking wins. As part of that leadership role, Garcon undoubtedly relies on the lessons he learned in the place he'll be visiting this weekend.
"It definitely helps," Garcon said. "Experience is the No. 1 thing, especially in this league. You go through tough times or good times, you have to stay the same regardless of what happens on the field. You have to prepare, put in the good work and know you did everything you could to win. You have to bring that every week."