Thursday, February 4, 2010

VIDEO:Garçon, Vilma Carry Hope for Haiti

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — With every pass he catches this postseason, wide receiver Pierre Garçon just isn't trying to help the Indianapolis Colts. He's hoping to help the earthquake-stricken nation of Haiti.

Garçon, who is of Haitian descent, was the guy carrying around the Haitian flag immediately following the Colts' 30-17 victory over the New York Jets in the AFC championship game. During Tuesday's media day festivities at the Super Bowl, he wore a Haitian flag bandana.

"The more you guys cover it, the more people will help," Garçon said.

His website — — is accepting donations for earthquake relief. He plans a trip there after the season with his foundation — Pierre Garçon Helping Hands — "to hand out clothes, food, money, helping people with whatever they need in any way we can."

Football has helped take Garçon's mind off Haiti but at the same time strengthened his resolve on the field.

"It's been very difficult for him, obviously," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "And particularly when the earthquake first occurred, he did not know the well-being of his family. All of those things were up in the air. He could not communicate with them because obviously all of the cell phone towers were out. ... Although his immediate family is not located there, he has several cousins, uncles, so on and so forth that he was concerned about."

Garçon subsequently learned that his relatives were safe. Garçon says winning Sunday's Super Bowl game against New Orleans would mean a lot to himself and the Colts, but also to the people of Haiti

"I'm sure they would enjoy it," he said. "They don't know much about football but this will be the start, to learn about football. And to say they have their own kind in the Super Bowl. And to say they have a Haitian who's a Super Bowl champion."

Then again, the same could be said of New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is also of Haitian descent with relatives living there. Vilma has designed a "Department of Domeland Defense" T-shirt being produced by Bonza Graphics of Gretna, La. Proceeds from shirt sales benefit the Haitian relief effort.

"That was my idea — the saying, the logo, everything about the shirt," Vilma said. "Then you see my signature at the bottom. Everything about the shirt was something that I felt like we needed, and it really helped with everything going to the Haiti relief effort. That was a huge plus for me, because I can't really do anything else besides that at the moment."


Veteran left guard Ryan Lilja missed his second day of Colts practice Thursday at the Miami Dolphins complex, but Caldwell said he believes Lilja will be ready for the Super Bowl. Once again, defensive end Dwight Freeney (ankle) and cornerback Jerraud Powers (foot) also missed practice.

Meanwhile, at the University of Miami complex, the Saints cut back on Thursday's practice by about 20 minutes from the previous day. It was about 80 degrees at the start of practice.

"We're in the second week now (of Super Bowl preparations) and we can do that," coach Sean Payton told a pool reporter. "It was a little warm out here."

Once again, running back Lynell Hamilton (ankle) did not practice for the Saints.

Source: STL Today and Source: NFL

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