(photo by Brian Murphy)
It’s no secret that players love their downtime. Some choose to spend their offseason spoiling themselves with exotic vacations to remote locations. Others find any excuse to hang with teammates. Washington Redskins safety Chris “The Predator” Horton opted to spend his first offseason in a more low-key fashion – catching up with loved ones.
We tracked down everyone’s favorite safety Monday afternoon after Horton completed his first day of the Redskins’ offseason conditioning program.
How tough was it to head back to Redskins Park after having a nice, long break?
“It was different, but exciting,” Horton said. “It’s just another chance to hang out with your buddies. It’s a good thing to do, as far as working out, so you’re all on the same schedule rather than being at home while your friends are at work all the time.”
Okay, be honest, how much did you worry about keeping in shape and eating right during your offseason?
“It was somewhat important, but I didn’t go to the extreme with it,” he said. “I know I’ve got some time to continue to get into shape and be ready to go when camp and the season roll around.”
How did you spend your summer vacation?
“I didn’t really do too much exciting stuff,” Horton said. “I just hung out with the family for a couple weeks and then went out to L.A. and hung out with my girl. You know, I didn’t really do too much. I just kept it easy.”
You’re family is in New Orleans, right?
“Yes,” he said.
So was it was nice head back and get some home-cooked meals?
“Yeah, definitely,” Horton said. “You can’t beat that. Going home and every night, there’s some food that’s going to be on the stove that I haven’t had in I don’t know how long. Just getting the chance to go home and, you know, see everyone is always good.”
Are you trying to tell us your mom’s home cooking is better than anything you eat with your bachelor lifestyle in Ashburn?
(Laughs). “Oh, definitely,” he said.
Okay, you’ve had some time to think about it – what the hell happened during the final eight games of last season? How did this team go from 6-2 to 2-6 seemingly overnight?
“Oh, man, I wish I could tell you,” Horton said. “I guess it was more of a case of not being able to finish it, everyone not being on the same page and those kind of things because I really don’t know what went wrong. You know, I still want to know what happened.”
This is your first offseason with the team and you’re learning that things are rarely quiet at Redskins Park this time of year. What was your reaction when you found out Albert Haynesworth is now your teammate?
“I was excited to get there and see him,” he said. “Everyone said he’s a big guy, so when I finally saw him and looked at him, I realized they’re right – he’s a really big dude. I’m excited to have him be a part of the Washington Redskins because I know what type of player he is.”
What can he do to help a player like you out on that defense?
“Any time you get a guy like that, you know for a fact that he’s going to get some pressure on the quarterback,” Horton said. “Now most teams are going to have to switch it up and run to the outside just because he’s there in the middle.”
What did you think of the team bringing back DeAngelo Hall?
“It’s the exact same thing – I’m excited,” he said. “He was a guy who came in for half a season and the things he did, the way he performed and the way he helped the team, I think it’s definitely a good thing to have him back because hopefully he’s going to be able to build on that and go into next season knowing how good he can be here.”
Your rookie season has come and gone. What can ‘Skins fans expect from you this season?
“I still feel like I’ve got a lot to prove and I still feel like there’s a lot more that I can do,” Horton said. “I’m not going to dwell on what I did last year because that’s in the past. Every time you step on that field it’s like a new interview. I’ve still got to go out and show people that I can play football.”
Some folks around town say you’re solid against the run, but you need to step up your game in pass coverage. What say you?
“I gave up, maybe one touchdown the whole year when I was actually covering somebody man-to-man,” he said. “All we do is play man-to-man. There’s always going to be something everyone thinks you need to work on, but I know what I can do against the run. I know what I can do against the pass. I’m just going to continue to get better.”