Horn cherishing time with family
From Randy Moss' 'moon' celebration to the Saints leaving New Orleans, Joe Horn has plenty of opinions.
KAPOLEI, Hawaii -- Two years ago, we got the chance to sit down with Joe Horn at the Pro Bowl. And as expected, he was quite outspoken, funny and direct. Since then, a lot has happened, including his cell phone celebration that drew a $30,000 fine from the NFL office during the 2003. So with Horn back on the island for his fourth Pro Bowl and several topical things worth discussing, we decided to have another Q&A session with the New Orelans wideout.
Q. When Randy Moss was fined only $10,000 for his "moon" shot, did you request a $20,000 refund from the league?
A. Different fines. I'm not tripping. I did something I wanted to do, that I planned to do for my kids [pointing to his three kids out on the practice field as he speaks]. If they had fined me $200,000, it wouldn't have mattered when it comes to why I did it. Randy had his reasons for doing what he did, and they felt that was enough money to fine Randy.
Q. Two years ago, you said Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison was the best receiver in the game? Does that opinion still hold true?
A. Let me tell you something. I judge receivers by the stats. Whoever has the best stats that year is the best receiver in the league.
A. That's right, but all that is irrelevant. Who had the most yards this year, me and Muhsin [Muhammad]? Muhsin had 1,400 and I had 1,390, so he was the best in yardage, but I had one more catch than him, so I guess I'm the best in catches [in the NFC. Tony Gonzalez led the league with 102 catches].
Q. How does your coach Jim Haslett go from being on the hot seat midway through the season to keeping his job?
A. We won four games in a row. It was too late in the season, but we ended on a good note. I'm glad they gave Has a two-year extension. It's not the head coach. The head coach can't run routes, run the football. It's his personnel. You gather the guys together to believe in your system, you'll win football games and that's what the Saints did the last five games of the season. Unfortunately, it was too late.
Q. What went through your mind after you defeated Carolina in the season finale, but missed the playoffs when the Rams beat the Jets?
A. I didn't watch it, I was sick. But we dug that hole, that's why when the game was over in Carolina, I went and took a shower. I didn't watch the TV. If we got to the playoffs great, but we dug that hole so hopefully the guys can remember that in mini-camp, the offseason program and training camp. We win our games, we get in and we don't have to worry about someone missing a field goal.
Q. So what are the Saints' biggest weaknesses?
A. Right now, I can't say that we have too many because the last four games we dominated everybody we played. They have to test the free-agent market and the draft to see what they can fill in.
Q. If it was your decision, where would the Saints call home? New Orleans, Los Angeles or somewhere else?
A. Wherever fans in a city accept us. If the New Orleans fans keep begging and crying about the tickets, crying about us winning, they don't want to support us and keep us there, then let's move on to a city that will. I would love to win a Super Bowl in New Orleans, but if they don't want to do what it takes to keep us there, then let's ride out.
Q. Best touchdown celebration you saw this year?
A. [Pittsburgh's Antwaan] Randle El. He caught a touchdown and started shouting like he was in church.
Q. What impresses you most about this current run by the Patriots?
A. Team camaraderie. Bill Belichick keeping that team together. Keep them believing in his system. In the NFL, you're going to have great athletes. Bill Belichick has a knack for bringing an athlete in and making him a star. Making him jell with the system he has. And he has the [assistant] coaches to back that up.
Q. What Super Bowl performance impressed you more? Terrell Owens' comeback from surgery or Deion Branch picking apart Philly's defense?
A. T.O. That shocked me the most because he shook the world up. No one thought after his surgery that he would come out and perform like that. I told him today, in his face, 'I don't like to pull on other receivers' jock strap, but as a man, you shook up the world.' He has much respect from me.
Q. So what's the best part about making the Pro Bowl?
A. For me, letting other people in my life have the chance to enjoy themselves. I thank God for blessing me with the money and the fame, but I love ... when I can fly other family members in. My mom, my cousins, my friends, who would never probably get the chance to enjoy a beautiful island like this, that's what I love about it.
James C. Black is an NFL Editor for ESPN.com and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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