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Carolina Panthers

Joe Horn ready to see his son make his own name

Jaycee Horn, Joe Horn

CHARLOTTE — Jaycee Horn and Joe Horn play with the same kind of energy, even if they don't always sound the same.

The rookie cornerback from South Carolina isn't able (or at least ready) to unleash the press conference juice the way his father, former Saints and Falcons wideout Joe Horn, always did as a player. Dad did plenty to make up for it later.

"He's helped me a lot," Jaycee said of his father, a low-key introduction to a man who drew so much attention as a player. "Him telling me stuff, not just now at this point, but throughout my whole life. It just came full circle as I was going through the process. It was definitely a big help."

Restraint was never a big part of Joe Horn's portfolio as a player. In his 12 years in the league, he made four Pro Bowls, but he was also famous for his attitude, the swagger he brought, the cell phones he pulled from underneath goalpost padding to celebrate touchdowns.

But in recent weeks, Joe has kept a low profile. At least until the Panthers used the eighth overall pick on his son, and the floodgates opened.

"It's been hard not talking about it," Joe said from the family celebration. "But now that he's released me to talk to the media, it's time to go."

Joe didn't hold back from big expectations, making it clear: "We knew Jaycee was the best defensive player in this draft." (His son was also the first defensive player chosen.)

Joe didn't stop there.

"Now that this is over, I can share the blueprint," Joe said. "The blueprint is the Hall of Fame. The blueprint is to get that yellow jacket some day, and to help the Panthers win two or three Super Bowls on the way."

That's more like the Joe Horn we know so well.

Of course, fathers and sons are never the same, so dad said not to expect Jaycee to mimic his personality, for a pragmatic reason.

"Oh, he has it in him; he's a dog, no, he's a lion," Joe said. "But he's not going to risk all that money to do it the way I did.

"He's too frugal. Getting fined $15,000 or $20,000 would just piss him off."

The pitfalls of paying money to make a scene wasn't the only conversation about NFL life they've had over the years. When asked about the process of raising a first-round pick, Joe admits that he used his own career as an example — and not always a positive one.

"I told him, and he knows, all the things I didn't do the right way, you have to be best at," Joe said. "You have to be on time every day, you have to do what the coach asks every day, and you have to make plays. . . . All the small things, like me not watching enough film. Jaycee's the first one in, and the last one to leave, and he's watching film when he's at the house with me. He's a student. I can tell you when I was playing, I never studied a DB when I was at home.

"That's not a problem for him. Jaycee understands what he has to do, and he lives it."

Joe said he even had to prevent his son from leaving the house to go work out Thursday afternoon, insisting that he enjoy the moment with family and friends.

"I had to stop him from going to work out at 2 o'clock," Joe said "He had it planned with his trainer, and it was a real workout, it wasn't just that kind of workout to show on social media."

After not talking about his son for so long, the elder Horn clearly warmed up quickly.

Asked about a decorated receiver raising a player who tried to stop players like him, Joe said: "Oh, Jaycee could be a wideout. He could walk into the Panthers facility right now and start running routes."

But that's not what the Panthers drafted him to do.

"I told him I wanted him to be a defensive back, I didn't want him to take that punishment, I wanted him to deliver it," Joe said. "But he's all defensive back now. He's technique-sound, but he's also a dog, he's an animal. He knows everything about being a defensive back.

"But he's also a humble kid. He's a yes-sir, no-sir guy. He doesn't party. And I'm happy for the Carolina family, because he's ready to give everything he has for them."

With that, Joe Horn had done everything he could do for the day with a cell phone. This celebration, after all, wasn't about him.

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