this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; MISSION STATEMENT Joe Horn came from humble beginnings to the riches of the NFL, and life after football is just as important to him as playing receiver for the Saints Saturday September 13, 2003 By Brian Allee-Walsh Staff writer When ...
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|09-13-2003, 06:12 PM||#1|
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: CRYSTAL BEACH TEXAS
Joe Horn's Mission Statement.....
Joe Horn came from humble beginnings to the riches of the NFL, and life after football is just as important to him as playing receiver for the Saints
Saturday September 13, 2003
By Brian Allee-Walsh Staff writer
When Saints wide receiver Joe Horn retires from football, he does not want to be remembered for his Sunday exploits, the speedy moves, big-play catches and flashy end-zone gyrations.
To Joe Horn, that's not Joe Horn.
"I want people to remember that I stayed in a high school stadium until 11 o'clock at night and gave a kid an autograph," Horn said. "When I'm the only guy left, and the lights are off, and I'm there with a dad and his son who had to fight the mosquitoes off till the end, that's how I want to be remembered.
"If I'm only remembered for what I did on the football field, then that would be an embarrassment to me."
Horn's softer, reflective side might catch some fans by surprise. He's better known as the guy who refers to himself in the third person, a player who has stood in front of the media and interviewed himself. He's seen as the typical star jock, cocky and outspoken. He talks trash on the field and flaunts his wealth off it. He drives expensive cars, wears the latest fashions and believes the rules of life apply to everyone but him.
It's not hard to get Joe Horn to talk. He loves a good discussion, whether it's on football or life. But while he is as dedicated to his fans as any professional athlete, he doesn't often talk about where the affection comes from.
While this Horn may blow a few wild notes, it hides a sincerity that comes from a less prosperous life he said he has never forgotten.
"There are a lot of things that people don't know about me," Horn said. "Never in their wildest dreams would they think I'd be feeling this way or that way because of my so-called star status. They don't see me get teary-eyed when I've got to leave some kid reaching out for an autograph. I still can hear their daddy say, 'Screw him, he could have come over here.' That kills me. I hate it from the pit of my heart."
Horn, a three-time Pro Bowler, was not always a sharp-dressed man. He did not always possess millions and drive the hottest, priciest set of wheels. The third oldest of eight siblings, he grew up in a ghetto in New Haven, Conn., and later moved to North Carolina as a teenager.
He remembers being so poor that he felt as if he were wallowing at the "bottom of a bottomless pit." He went to school with holes in his boots. He ate mayonnaise and salad dressing sandwiches. A home-made pizza consisted of government cheese, white bread and lots of ketchup.
"I'd come in from playing, take a bath and have no dinner," he said. "I'd wake up in the morning and go to a friend's house and pray that his mother asked me if I wanted a piece of bread or something to eat."
Horn said only by the grace of God was he able to avoid the temptations in low-income housing that brought others down around him. He had chances to succumb, but didn't.
"I remember being about eight or 10 years old and I saw my cousins counting out $200,000 on the bed, and my eyes got big and I wanted a piece of the action. I said, 'What do I have to do to get that?' My cousin grabbed me by the face and pushed me out the door. He said, 'You don't want none of that, little bud.' "
Horn remembers discovering stacks of $100 bills in a relative's refrigerator.
"I almost took a stack, thinking I could buy ice-cicles or freeze pops, stuff like that," he said. "It had to be drug money. I'm sure she wasn't selling Mary Kay (cosmetics).
"I saw a cousin OD (overdose) on drugs. He taught me everything I knew about football and basketball. That destroyed me in high school. So I had opportunities to go that way, but I saw how some of my friends and family ended up. They ended up dead or behind bars."
Horn's wealth has made him a target for family, friends and acquaintances looking for a handout. A recurring nightmare has Horn lending money to a relative who ends up getting killed during a drug deal, leaving him full of shame, guilt and sorrow.
"If I took my fame and my money and went to my 'hood and threw it at everybody -- I could give my homeys $500 to do this or $500 to do that, and they'd go try to flip it and make more money -- then my name would be destroyed," he said. "Then the money and fame that I have would leave me.
"That's what guys in the NFL get caught up with. They feel like because they're from the 'hood -- yes, you're supposed to show love to your 'hood and go back and do good the legal way, build a rec center or help your homeys get an education -- that they've got to go back and throw money back into their community. But it's no good if that money gets tied up in drugs and homeys get caught and busted and your name comes out, that's no good. I've had to be on my toes, because the more money you make the quicker they can knock you down."
Horn said his past is important to him. Occasionally, he'll leave the New Orleans suburbs and drive into the inner city to absorb the sights and sounds. Just to talk, look and listen, not as Joe Horn the football player but Joe Horn the person.
"I'll drive a pickup truck, wear regular clothes, pull my hat down over my face and sit on the swings, and tell myself, 'Joe, this is where you came from. You're from the ghetto. Don't ever forget,' " he said. "That's why when I meet people from the projects or low-income housing, I know what they're thinking. They think, 'He's all that, but if he only knew where I come from and what I went through.' Hey, I've been there. I'm from the ghetto."
Horn said he would like to play another three or four years and then retire to a big plot of land, fish and golf, buy some Krispy Kreme franchises and steak houses and live off his investments.
"The money that I'm making now from the man upstairs (Saints owner Tom Benson) is going straight to my bank account," Horn said. "So when I get out of this game, I won't have to find a way to make some dollars every morning when I wake up. I don't want to be mad at myself years from now, knowing that when I was in the NFL I took $100,000 and bought this car or invested $200,000 in some bad land.
"You can buy all the cars, all the houses, all the diamonds . . . we call it stuntin' . . . but there's going to be a time when the stuntin' ends."
Until then, Horn wants to keep giving money -- he estimates that he has donated $100,000 to various charities and foundations since joining the Saints in 2000 -- and his time to worthy causes in the community.
"I remember walking past Dominique Wilkens and Kevin Willis at a bus station in Atlanta when I was a kid and I told myself, 'Man, I'm going to make it one day, so when I have an opportunity to give a kid an autograph or make someone's day, I'm going to do it.'
"I want to be remembered for a conversation that I had with a kid at a church or a playground or at a school gathering, for some encouraging words or helping them out with their education.
"I want to be remembered for helping change their lives forever."
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|09-14-2003, 09:23 AM||#2|
Join Date: May 2003
Location: South Alabama
Joe Horn's Mission Statement.....
Tweeky used to despise Joe Horn, Tweeky hated his arrogance and cockiness. But the more tweek knows about this guy the more tweek respects him.
I think if 52 other guys had his attitude, we wouldn\'t have had any December slides.
Tweeky likes him now. Horns cool.