In 2007, the Texans made a huge free agent splash by signing four-time Pro Bowler Ahman Green to pair with newly acquired quarterback Matt Schaub.
Although Green’s injuries derailed his Texans career, he did help create one of the most special off-field moments in franchise history by helping a family get a home.
Here’s the story of the special moment from HoustonTexans.com in 2007…
As often happens when NFL players give their jersey numbers to teammates, Jason Simmons asked Ahman Green to pay up.
Just not to him.
Simmons asked Green to pay him for his number 30, but on the condition that the money would go toward a down payment for a home for a deserving Houston resident. Green agreed, and Texans owner Bob McNair matched Green’s payment.
Enter Regina Foster, 37, a single mother raising a seven-year-old child with autism. Foster had applied in May for the award, detailing her desperate need to find a stable home in which to raise her son, Reggie.
Monday started as just an ordinary day for Foster until around 11:30 a.m., when she got a mysterious call to confirm that she’d be at her office. A package needed to be delivered, she was told.
Foster was unaware that on the other side of the phone was a Houston Texans official about to give the OK to Green and Simmons to head to her office building.
About an hour later, Foster was called down to the lobby at Aegis Whole Mortgage, where she worked for three years as a Lockdesk Specialist. She grabbed some friends in the office to come help her carry what she thought would be a large package. Foster got off the elevator to the surprise of a lifetime.
In a scene out of a Publisher’s Clearinghouse commercial, she came upon a slew of media cameras and microphones, and Green and Simmons standing with balloons and a giant check made out to her for $50,000.
“Here you go,” Green said, motioning the check toward her. “That is for you and your son.”
In 2007, former RB Ahman Green and the Texans surprised Regina Foster, a single mother raising a child with autism, with a $50,000 check for a down payment on a new home.
An overwhelmed Foster couldn’t suppress her emotions as she hugged her two newest favorite football players.
“I’ve been looking, but all the homes that I wanted I couldn’t afford because I didn’t have enough money,” she said, tears streaming down her face. “But now, because of them, I can.”
“Thank you so much,” she said to Green and Simmons.
Foster realized that her son, Reggie, would not be able to grasp the full magnitude of the Texans’ gift to them. But she beamed a smile as she emphasized how important her new home will be for his development.
“My son needs a home, something to call his own, so he’ll be able to grow,” she said. “Kids with autism cannot adapt to change, and this is something where it’s a home we can have for our own and he doesn’t have to leave.
“He will be so happy when he sees his backyard with a swing set and everything in it."
The emotions of the day almost caught up with Simmons, who at one point jokingly shouted at Foster not to make him cry.
“It’s an emotional time,” he said. "Everybody’s been teary-eyed around here – myself, my wife, everybody. We’re just so happy that we did this.”
Green was particularly moved by Foster’s story, having worked with autistic children for the past few years in conjunction with the Easter Seals charitable organization. Green knows that the cost of medical expenses, tutors and special counselors can be tremendous for a family affected by autism, even when the family is supported by a hard worker like Foster. And that’s why he was filled with joy at the thought of how this donation will make life so much easier for Foster and her son.
“This is awesome,” he said. “I’m probably going to smile for the next week, even though training camp’s about to start for us. I’m going to be smiling for a while.
“It’s just a good feeling, man. If I have a bad day during two-a-days or during this season, I’m going to think about this – this moment, this time, where we had the opportunity to put a very big smile on a woman and her son’s face today.”
Foster’s co-workers explained the impact this will have on Foster.
“Her son is her life,” Madeline Jones said. “This is all about her son.”
“She wanted a yard for her son to play in, a safe environment, and she’s going to get that,” Daymond McClendon said.
Shanti Sample couldn’t be happier for her good friend.
“She did not think she was going to get it,” Sample said. “We took long nights praying and trying to convince her ‘You are going to get it, because you are deserving of it.’ This has been a long journey for her to find a home.”
The day had a special significance for Simmons, a 10-year NFL veteran and father of three.
“It means so much to me because it’s about making your mark as a man as opposed to a football player,” he said. “I’ll be a man much longer than I’ll be a football player. It’s just one of those things that when you can make your mark in the community, you know, it’s big.”
Green also was overjoyed.
“It was an opportunity that Jason presented to me … to help somebody, and it’s all I’ve been wanting to do since I got in the NFL – using my star power, because I’m fortunate, Jason’s fortunate, everyone in the NFL’s fortunate," he said. "When we have the opportunity to give back, we want to do it as much as we can.”
Simmons voiced his agreement, stressing the need for athletes to use their place in the spotlight to help others. And he made it clear on this feel-good day that he expects it to become a fixture of his team’s yearly schedule.
“We want to do it again,” he said. “When you think about all the players that we have, if everybody gives a little we can do this every year. We want this to become an annual event.”