Tuesday at 11 am in the T.H. Harris Auditorium former wide receiver of the New Orleans Saints Joe “Hollywood” Horn spoke to Grambling State University’s students, faculty and staff on the importance of education, his 14 year football career and his helping hand in repairing the city of New Orleans.
The humble and down-to-earth Horn spoke to the students on how important academics are. Starting off at Itawamba Community College was a reality check for the then young Horn. He realized that not having the grades eliminated him from playing ball at any of the D1 colleges but was humbled enough to understand that playing ball was fine no matter what college he attended.
“I didn’t think my academic career mattered,” said Horn “Going to a Junior college I spoke to myself saying Joe you have to do it on your own no one else can do it for you, and that very motivation is what got me to where I am today.”
“Grambling sits on a mountain of its own; I have respect for every prestige black university” said the receiver. “Take advantage of the opportunities you have here.”
Horn spoke on his upbringing and how his mother always taught him that having money and fame doesn’t mean much if you cannot say what you did to make a change. Drafted to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 5th round Horn didn’t know what he wanted to do exactly for the team as well as to give back. Having a lack of education didn’t help the young Horn much but with the help of his mother he soon fulfilled his destiny to help others, when signing with the New Orleans Saints in 2000 Horn felt as though he had made it!
“Everybody disrespected the Saints so I wanted to put them on the map.” Said Horn
Ranking in the top ten in receptions, yards and touchdowns; averaging 87 receptions, 1,257 yards and 9 touchdowns a season joining the Saints was a promising career for Horn. With the Saints Horn made the Pro Bowl four years from 2001-2004 but all that didn’t matter to the now older Horn. In 2005 before the saints were to play with Oakland Raiders Horns coach called for the team to get on a plane earlier because there was a hurricane in the gulf that was said to be a category 5. After hoping on the plane and making into to California, as soon as they made it to the hotel Horn immediately turned on the news and 15 minutes into the news the wide receiver is in a ball crying.
“My mind wasn’t on the game it was on how I can get back and help” said Horn. “When asking my coach can I get back to New Orleans to help those people who are in need before our game he wouldn’t let me go and at that very moment I realized the freedom I knew I had.”
Speaking on going back to the dome for the first time was a sensitive spot for Horn as he automatically went back to that time and place the Pro Bowl winner took a step back from the microphone to catch his breath.
“Seeing people who couldn’t afford things they needed was a sad feeling” said Horn “All of a sudden it wasn’t about football anymore and I realized how I can help.”
Ending the convocation Joe “Hollywood” threw everyone for a loop when he expressed that he could be Grambling State Universities next head football coach. As the crowd gasped and applauded the former wide receiver took questions from students and faculty.
Many had questions but some that stood out was how he got his nickname Hollywood, which he responded saying he ended up with the nickname because with his cheaper suits than the other players on game day he still stood out, from the late linebacker and defensive end, Derrick Thomas, of the Kansas City Chiefs. But the Grambling State students wouldn’t let the receiver leave without asking about the cellphone in the end zone, which Horn ended up getting fined for but said it was worth it.