Playing in the NFL, regardless if whether one is a Pro Bowl cornerback, a proven receiver or true supporting cast means having already achieved a level most aspiring football players only dare to dream. Realize that less than 2.0 percent of college football players reach the NFL. Many of us are familiar with this stat or simply grasp the rare air these athletes gulp. That had me wondering at what point in their athletic careers did members of the Washington Redskins realize they had a chance to make the pro ranks or perhaps star once there. Each week Breaking Burgundy will share some of those responses to the basic premise of at what point in your athletic career did you realize there was something going on here.
Josh Norman. Cornerback, 28. Coastal Carolina. Selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.
Question: When do you know you could be a Pro Bowler?
Norman: "Oh, yeah. When I first got in the league. As soon as I could step foot into the NFL. That was my mindset. ...As soon as I got there. That didn't change my mind. Still hasn't changed my mind. Still feel the same way then as I do now. Probably a little bit more now than then, but nothing has changed my mind. Against (former Panthers WR) Steve Smith? OK, let's see him. ...It was awesome for me to have those challenges, to challenge myself to get better."
Pierre Garcon. Wide receiver. 30. Mount Union. Selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
Question: At what point did you realize playing sports could be more than just for fun?
Garcon: "When I got my invite to the (NFL) Combine. I played Division III and playing well there is not guaranteed you're going to make it to the NFL. So I got my invite to the Combine and then I did well at the Combine. Then I was like, 'Oh, yeah, I might have a chance now because I did well.' That moment -- everybody gets invited to the Combine, but only certain people do top 10 in every event or plays well and [measures] well at the Combine. That's one of those things (you look back at). It did well for me."
What was it like to get that invite?
PG: [Laughs]. "It was an amazing feeling. I remember the day. I remember everything about that. It was one of my proudest moments just to get an invite to the National Football [League] Combine. It was a very good day. Called my agent, called my mom, talked to my grandma."
How did they contact you?
"They send you something in the mail. They sent it to my mom's house for some reason. (So, snail mail?) Yeah, not email. An envelope. If I wasn't there my mom probably would have opened it, but she probably wouldn't have known what it was."
Do you still have the letter?
"Nah. It might be somewhere in my mom's house, but I doubt it. I think I gave it to my agent to somehow verify that it was real (laughs).Yeah, that was it."
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