this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Joe Horn - Q&A Luke Sacks NFLPLAYERS.COM 09/27/2005 Talk a little bit about what you went through having to relocate your entire family while also preparing for a preseason football game? "It was a hard adjustment to make at the ...
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|09-28-2005, 01:55 PM||#1|
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Joe Horn Q&A
Joe Horn - Q&A
Talk a little bit about what you went through having to relocate your entire family while also preparing for a preseason football game?
"It was a hard adjustment to make at the time. I wasn't too worried about my family because they gave us ample opportunity to move our families to wherever they needed to go in order to be safe. My concerns were with everybody else that was left behind in New Orleans. That was so hard for me and everybody else on the team to deal with and it was something we struggled to get over. That was something that really hurt us. That hurt us more than having to leave and relocate and move to another city."
The team left for the West Coast early for your final preseason game against the Raiders. How hard was it for you to think about a seemingly meaningless football game with the evacuation taking place in New Orleans?
"It was extremely difficult to think about a preseason game knowing the situation that was happening back in New Orleans. At that time, with everything that was going on back home, football was irrelevant. I wanted to do whatever I could to help out and being so far away made it very hard to deal with for us."
Once the hurricane hit and the devastation began, the team and your families were well out of harm's way but what was it like to watch your city destroyed?
"It was gut-wrenching to watch that all happen. It was very difficult for us to deal with because that's our city. That's our home. But I've dealt with hardships in life before and I understand that God makes things happen for a reason. Things like that are part of life. You can't run and hide from terrible things - they are a part of life and you have to deal with them."
As the regular season opener drew closer and the games were going to start counting in the standings, how did the team deal with practicing and game planning with so many distractions off the field?
"We had no choice but to deal with it. We were under some harsh conditions but when you are a player in the NFL you have to perform. That's what we had to do. Where we were going to practice, how we were going to work it out, where we were going to play - those are things that were a little bit of a distraction but once we got on the football field we had to put it all out of our minds and focus and that's what we did."
Did your house sustain any damage?
"My house was fine. I didn't even think about my house or my possessions. We are blessed to have the opportunity to play a professional sport and be very well paid to do it. We were blessed to be able to get our families out of there in time. Even if people would have looted my house - if they had no place to go and nothing to eat or drink - I still gave my address on National television. My possessions were irrelevant to me at that point."
After all the team had been through how satisfying was it to go out and get a win that first week against Carolina?
"It felt good knowing that under those circumstances we still went out and prevailed and were able to get that win. It also felt good that we gave our fans something to cheer about during such hard times."
Head Coach Jim Haslett was put in such a difficult position. Can you talk a little bit about how he handled everything?
"He was great and handled it exactly how a professional coach should. He knew what we all were going through. He was going through those same things himself with his wife and kids and family. He handled it in a very professional manner and we all respected him for that."
Having gone to school and spent the majority of your NFL playing career in the South, how did you feel seeing the rest of the country rallying to support that region after such a horrible disaster?
"It was something that I expected. I expected to see this country bond together because that is what America is all about. Just like after September 11, we all bonded together. Every city in every state in the country lent a helping hand to New York and the other areas back in 2001. We knew New York was hurting at the time so we had to show our love and support. It is the right thing to do. Everyone around the United States who is showing support for the Gulf Coast and the South is doing their job because that's what we all need to do. That's what Americans do - we help each other and stick together during tough times."
What are your thoughts about the NFL's decision to stage your first "home game" in New York?
"I think it was wrong because we didn't get the opportunity as a team to have the game played where we wanted to play. Playing in New York wasn't a home game but we had someone else telling us that is where we were going to play. We weren't hurt by being in New York around the fans that loved us and cheered for us and cared for us because of the ordeal we were going through. We were annoyed that we didn't have any say in having it where we wanted to play. We could have played it in Baton Rouge or we could have played in San Antonio. Why did someone else come and tell us, after everything we had been through with having to relocate and move our families and having to evacuate, where we should play to make them comfortable? Playing in New York definitely wasn't a home game for us."
Do you think going through all the Saints have been through the last few weeks has brought your locker room closer together no matter what happens on the field each week?
"I think it has brought us closer. Anything of this magnitude should bring teammates together, should bring a country together, should bring everybody together. When a catastrophe like this happens and people lose their lives and their children and their homes and their livelihoods, that should bring anyone who has a heart closer together."
My Guardian Angel wears a hard hat.