Howard rarely socializes with football players, preferring to surround himself with a small circle of intimates who are not athletes. He will not say who he is dating. "I like my privacy," he says. "I like my time to myself, not to be bothered by people. They don't mean any harm, but if they are always knocking on your door and stopping by, you can't get anything done." He admits to fussing with his former roommates over housekeeping. "I think you have a responsibility," he says. "There's no sense in trying to go out and straighten up the neighborhood if your own home isn't straight."
But just when Howard seems a touch overbearing, a beauteous smile comes forth, and he's suddenly describing, with a sense of high hilarity, something he did on the football field. For all of his exalted aspirations, Howard has a touch of pure lowbrow vaudeville. "I've enjoyed entertaining crowds since I was young," he says. "It's a pleasure making everybody happy. My family comes to the games, and I feel like they are there in harmony, cheering for their son."
His parents meet every weekend in seats on the 50-yard line to regard with a mixture of awe and admiration what they have accomplished.
"I tell Desmond," J.D. says, " 'You make this whole family feel good. Just the idea of you.' "