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Monday, July 23, 2007
Texans' Green makes downpayment on home for single mom

Associated Press

HOUSTON -- When Regina Foster tells her son Reginald they're finally moving from an apartment to their own home, the 7-year-old with autism likely won't comprehend what that means.

I never realized how important this could be. I thought it could be big, but I was nowhere in the ballpark of what it would mean to this one family.

Ahman Green

But when he sees the backyard, he'll be happy and that's all that matters to Foster, a single mom.

"He'll respond to that," she said with a smile.

Foster's dream of home ownership is coming true thanks to Ahman Green and the Houston Texans. On Monday, Green made good on a promise to make the down payment on a home for a single parent in exchange for reclaiming his No. 30 from teammate Jason Simmons.

"This is for Reggie," Foster said, tears running down her cheeks when she was surprised at work by Green and Simmons. "He needs it. Kids with autism can't adapt well to change, so it will be wonderful to have something we don't have to ever leave."

Foster received a check for $50,000, with Green donating $25,000 and Texans owner Bob McNair contributing the rest.

"You definitely deserve it and we're happy to do it," Green said as Foster thanked him while hugging him repeatedly.

Foster, who works for a mortgage company, was chosen from five finalists who met strict criteria that included a pledge to do 100 hours of community service and contribute at least $1,500 toward the down payment.

"I always wanted to use my star power to help people," said Green, who signed as free agent with the Texans after playing in Green Bay since 2000. "When we have the opportunity to do that it's just overwhelming."

Foster said she knew nothing about football and reluctantly admitted she wasn't a Texans fan.

"I just became one," she joked, adding that she'll dedicate Reggie's room to the Texans. Green said they'd donate Texans gear for the room.

Simmons, who came up with the idea when Green approached him about the number he'd worn since the inception of the franchise, had to fight back tears during the presentation.

"This is emotional," Simmons said. "When I thought of this I couldn't have imagined anything on this level. The best part is that she's not worried about herself, she wants a place for her son."

Green said part of the reason why Foster was chosen was because he learned through work with Easter Seals the difficulties and expense of caring for a child with special needs.

Foster has been trying to buy a house for some time to provide her son more stability and give him a backyard in which to play. She quickly found that her lack of money for a down payment would make such a purchase difficult and had put her plans on hold until Monday.

"I had been getting discouraged," she said. "I couldn't afford the down payment, but because of them I can finally do this."

Madeline Jones, a friend and co-worker of Foster's, said Foster was a hard worker and she couldn't think of anyone who deserved this more.

"Her son is her life," Jones said. "This is a dream come true. I don't think these guys even realize how big this is to her. It's unreal."

Green said it was hard to believe his promise had evolved from some words and a handshake with Simmons to a reality.

"I never realized how important this could be," he said. "I thought it could be big, but I was nowhere in the ballpark of what it would mean to this one family."