St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

After a painful time, life is 'going really well' for Sehorn


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2001

TAMPA -- Jason Sehorn's tumbling, flicking, acrobatic, pop-up, touchdown-scoring interception against Philadelphia in the playoffs has been chronicled by John Madden as "The greatest defensive play I ever saw."

But this season's ultimate catch by the smart, handsome, marketable Giants cornerback was, according to analysts of another sort, Sehorn's snagging of gorgeous Law & Order television star Angie Harmon. "What a beginning to 2001," said Sehorn, a California jock dude, "playing in the Super Bowl and then getting married. I'm extremely excited about both. Can't wait. Life has been going really well."

Jason is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound athlete with Hollywood-perfect teeth, Broadway-stylish hair, an entertaining way of talking, all the apparent goods to perpetuate his NFL notoriety by becoming an actor, model or television star.

"An actor? I don't think so," Sehorn said. "They work eight days to produce 42 minutes of television. I'm not sure I have the patience for that. Nah, I'll find other things to do."

Angie, his adviser?

Jason is in demand to perform for national commercials. Sehorn and Shannon Sharpe of the Ravens, a famous NFL trash talker, did catchy ads for brokerage king Charles Schwab. During tapings at Yale Bowl in New Haven, Conn., Sharpe characteristically bolted Sehorn with barbs.

Jason shrugged with a big-ivory smile.

"Fortunately, I never cover tight ends," said the Giants fellow, "so I won't be hearing most of Shannon's endless words on Sunday in the Super Bowl. I pity our linebackers. But, during the Schwab tapings, I did find a fellow who is calmer and has considerable depth than some might think."

Sehorn has known pain, physical and emotional. In preseason 1998, he tore an anterior cruciate ligament and a medial collateral ligament in his knee. His career was in jeopardy.

"Going through difficult rehab, coming back from serious medical problems," Sehorn said, "makes me appreciate even more being healthy and playing Super Bowl XXXV."

That year of his mangled knee, Sehorn endured the hurt of a failed marriage. For five years he dated Whitney Casey, a fellow athlete at the University of Southern California. She was a blond, 6-foot volleyball player from Tampa. They were married Valentine's Day 1998 but things quickly began to splinter.

Whitney is the daughter of Barbara Casey, communications director for the Tampa Sports Authority and Raymond James Stadium, and former husband Charlie Casey, onetime standout football receiver at the University of Florida.

Sehorn's wife was an excellent student who had considered medical school. She would leave USC and enroll at Virginia. After the breakup, Whitney went into television. She retried the name Casey and is a news reporter at the NBC affiliate in Miami. Casey has often dated Danny Kanell, a former FSU, Giants and Falcons quarterback.

Jason met Harmon at Giants Stadium. He works hard at keeping their relationship private, but Sehorn nonetheless orchestrated a quite-public departure for his marriage proposal to Angie, doing it on Jay Leno's late-night TV show.

"Even then, we didn't reveal much at all about our lives," Sehorn said. "Hey, most people advertise their engagements in some fashion, usually by wearing a ring or having a newspaper announcement. I just saw a unique way to pop the question and surprise Angie."

In his 29 years, Jason also has shown talents for baseball. While at Mount Shasta (Calif.) Junior College, he showed enough skill to get a contract with the Chicago Cubs and played two seasons in the minor leagues at Huntington, W.Va., and Peoria, Ill.

"Why did I give it up?" he said, reflecting a reporter's question. "Boring! But there was also the realization that I wasn't good at hitting professional curveballs. That sort of eliminates you from a big-league career as an outfielder."

Sehorn's appreciation for his physical gifts is apparent. "It is extremely nice to have a stage like the Super Bowl to show what you can do," he said, "but this body I have, the gift of speed, the good hands, those are all things granted by God. I've just tried to use what he gave me."

Jason played just one season of high school football but was named league MVP. In two years at USC, he played safety and corner and had seven interceptions as a senior.

"I try to keep a grip on who I am and what's really important," he said. "I've been in a Christian environment all my life. As a kid, I must've been baptized 20 times. I thought it was something you kept doing."

Some teammates from the Giants kid Jason about being G-rated. He just shrugs and gives that splendid smile. "I'm fine with that image," Sehorn said. "I can't be what I'm not."

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.