Catching up with Joe Johnson

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

NEW ORLEANS -- Got to meet former New Orleans Saints defensive end Joe Johnson at the ESPN Monday Night Football Chalk Talk Luncheon. Johnson took a little time to do a question-and-answer session with me.

What are you up to these days?

Joe Johnson: I'm still heavily grounded here in New Orleans. I've got a foundation (Built to Last) and we're doing some youth mentoring. It keeps me busy.

What do the Saints mean to this town?

JJ: For a long time, the Saints were the only show in town. Good, bad or indifferent, they're going to have the support of the people. It's important to have monuments to hang your hat on. When you think of the city of New Orleans, you think of Bourbon Street and the good food, but you also think of the New Orleans Saints. People rely on the Saints as a safe haven away from regular life. The Saints serve as a getaway for everybody.

The Saints periodically get mentioned as a candidate for relocation. Do you see that ever happening?

JJ: It's been thrown up from time to time. But even in the bad days, they may have worn bags on their heads, but they still showed up for the games. Mr. Benson knows the support is there and the people of New Orleans have done a lot to support to this team. I don't see the Saints relocating.

What's your take on this year's team?

JJ: Obviously, they have an abundance of talent on offense. The defense has been up and down at times and the injuries haven't helped. As long as you put points on the board, you have a chance to win.

Your thoughts on tonight's game?

JJ: Tonight is going to be tough. I've watched Minnesota a couple times and their record doesn't show how good they are. They've got Adrian Peterson and a great defense. Having it here at home should help the Saints, but it's going to be a dogfight.