The NFL announced today that Redskins rookie safety Chris Horton won NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Saints. Horton, starting unexpectedly in place of an ill Reed Doughty, had two interceptions and one fumble recovery, as well as four tackles (including a crucial third down stop).
It’s a deserved honor for the seventh-round draft choice, and one that he’ll no doubt be very proud of. But his excitement was likely somewhat blunted by a little prank by offensive lineman Randy Thomas.
Thomas, Horton’s postgame lockermate, happened to be coming through the public relations hallway in Redskins Park today just as the PR staff was trying to locate Horton to announce the award, and when he heard what was going on, he laughed out loud.
The story, apparently, is that Thomas is Horton’s postgame lockermate. Following the rookie’s impressive performance on Sunday, Thomas decided to tell him that if he got Defensive Player of the Week, it was a accompanied by a cash prize of a hundred thousand dollars.
“I said, ‘That’s a hundred thousand dollar check! After taxes, that’s like sixty-five thousand dollars!'” Thomas said. “He says, ‘You’re kidding me, man!’ And I say, ‘No, so-and-so got it last year and showed me the check.’
“So he says, ‘That would be nice, that’s more money than I’ve ever seen!'”
All of which was moot, since the PR staff hadn’t yet tracked down Horton. “He was just with me at that event,” Thomas said, referring to a charity function today at the DC Central Kitchen. “Give me a phone, I’ll call him.”
Which he did … and it quickly became clear that, with the call coming from an unfamiliar number, Horton had no idea who he was talking to. Thomas took advantage of the situation, quickly adopting the persona of an NFL employee.
“The issue is that we used to give out that hundred grand to the prize winner,” Thomas said, “but since you’re a rookie, you have to donate it to your special cause. So I’m just informing you – I know you’re looking forward to that, and a lot of guys do, but when you’re a rookie you don’t qualify, because there’s a donation bracket and you don’t have a credited season yet.”
Hanging up the phone, Thomas laughed again. “He said, ‘Oh, okay,’ but you could tell he had to catch himself.”
At this point, I asked Thomas if I could write about it or if he planned to keep the joke going a bit longer. He shook his head, turned to leave, and said, “Nah, I don’t care.” Then he stopped, thought about it, and added, “As long as it isn’t true. If he really does get paid, I’d be really annoyed.”