Booneville, Miss. - One of the most excitable and entertaining athletes in the National Football League's (NFL) extensive history will be on the sidelines for Northeast Mississippi Community College this fall.
Joe Horn has been tabbed as the wide receivers coach for the four-time Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division champion Tigers starting with the upcoming 2014 campaign.
"I grew up watching Joe play as a Saints fan and to be able to coach with him is an honor," said Northeast head coach Ricky Smither. "He's a guy that's seen just about everything. He relates well with the kids and is a pleasure to be around."
Horn, who broke or came close to setting multiple franchise records while with the New Orleans Saints, desires to pass along his vast knowledge of football to the Tigers' young, but gifted receiving core.
"Once I got around the receivers and I saw that coach Smither could need a little help I was here," Horn said. "It's been exciting so far. As a coach, to see what you're telling them transpire on the field in practices is awesome."
Horn's path to the professional level was anything but ordinary. After not playing a down of football for over two years, Horn purchased a Jerry Rice workout tape with some of his final financial savings and meticulously studied the moves of the NFL Hall of Famer.
The 6-1, 211-pounder then created a highlight video of him working out and running routes. He sent copies of the tape to multiple organizations across North America and received a quick response from the Canadian Football League's (CFL) Memphis Mad Dogs.
He signed a contract with Memphis and quickly showcased his true potential on the gridiron. Horn paced the Mad Dogs in their only season as members of the CFL with 71 catches, 1,415 yards and five touchdowns.
After the Mad Dogs folded due to budget concerns, Horn was drafted by Kansas City with the 135th pick in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He spent four years with the Chiefs as a combo receiver and special teams player.
Horn saw action in nine games during his rookie campaign. He made his NFL debut in a Kansas City victory at Seattle and caught a pass for the inaugural time in a loss to Denver.
The Chiefs captured the American Football Conference (AFC) West Division championship and were the top seed in the AFC playoffs during Horn's second season with the club. Horn had three receptions that year, including a 50-yard snag during Kansas City's postseason opener versus the Broncos.
Horn's time on the field increased in his final two campaigns with the Chiefs. He grabbed 49 catches for 784 yards and seven touchdowns in that span to give fans a taste of what turned into a phenomenal career.
He made a career-high 76-yard reception with Kansas City inside Seattle's Kingdome in December 1999 and caught his first NFL touchdown one year earlier at eventual Super Bowl XXXIII champion Denver.
Horn inked with New Orleans before the 2000 campaign and helped his squad complete a remarkable turnaround. The Saints claimed the National Football Conference (NFC) West Division title with a 10-6 record after winning only three contests the season before.
Quarterbacks Jeff Blake and Aaron Brooks found an easy target in Horn, who made defenders pay with his speed and agility. He finished seventh in the league in receptions with 94, eighth in yards at 1,340 and ninth in touchdowns with eight.
In their first playoff appearance since 1992, Horn and the Saints defeated St. Louis 31-28 at the Superdome in the NFC Wild Card round. However, New Orleans fell to Minnesota one week later to close a remarkable year.
Horn started for 43 straight matchups between the 2001-03 seasons and in that period had 12 outings where he tallied 100 receiving yards or more. The 2002 edition of the Saints finished third in the NFL in total offense thanks partially to Horn's 88 catches and 1,312 yards.
He crossed the goal line a personal best 11 times during the 2004 campaign and also accounted for career-highs in total catches with 94 and yards at 1,399, which was second most in the NFL. Horn hauled in 18 passes and three scores to help New Orleans conclude the year on a four-game winning streak.
Horn remained a viable part of the Saints roster through 2006. He averaged 15.5 yards per catch over his last two campaigns in New Orleans with five touchdowns.
The Fayetteville, N.C., native wrapped up his playing career in Atlanta with 27 receptions for 243 yards. He caught his final touchdown in the Falcons' 44-41 victory versus Seattle in the 2007 season finale.
Horn was a 12-year veteran of the NFL when he decided to retire. He played in a total of 163 games between three teams and is ranked 58th in league history with 603 career receptions.
He averaged 53.6 yards per game and 14.5 yards each catch. Horn tallied 58 touchdowns, 127 receptions of more than 20 yards and 436 first downs as well.
Horn represented the Saints on four occasions inside Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the NFL Pro Bowl. He made eight catches for 104 yards with one touchdown in the 2002 version of the NFL's all-star game.
He was inducted into to the prestigious New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2010. Horn ranks third in franchise history with 523 receptions, second in receiving yards at 7,622 and second in touchdown catches with 50.
Horn is one of three wide outs to be added to the Saints Hall of Fame. He joins other esteemed individuals including Archie Manning and Deuce McAllister that have been forever enshrined by New Orleans.
"There's no way this school can't go to a bowl game if they believe within their hearts," said Horn. "I'm excited to see how we'll be."
Horn, who earned the nickname Hollywood, is also famous for scoring a touchdown and then removing a cell phone from underneath the goalpost padding to make a call on ESPN's Sunday Night Football in December 2003. Sports Illustrated for Kids ranked his prank as the ninth best celebration in NFL history.
However, Horn is perhaps better known for his role in the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He frequently visited evacuees in both San Antonio and the Astrodome in Houston during the aftermath of the devastating storm in 2005.
Horn still donates time, energy and money to local charities in New Orleans and across the Southeast. Horn is a successful entrepreneur as well and owns his own barbeque sauce company entitled Bayou 87.