NFC East: Joe Torre
Henson said he was two days away from officially retiring and moving on with his life. He got married in Turks and Caicos last month (with Keyshawn Johnson in attendance) and he'd vowed to walk away from the game if he didn't receive a call within a year. Now, he's trying to take advantage of Drew Stanton's thumb injury.
And it's not like Henson could pick a better place. He grew up in the area and played college football for Michigan. Henson was destined to be a No. 1 draft pick while at Michigan, but he left school early to sign a six-year, $17 million contract with the Yankees. When baseball didn't work out, he returned to football and ended up being traded to the Cowboys.
Beginning in 2004, Henson competed with Tony Romo for the backup spot. He held it for the entire 2004 season and parts of 2005. The truth of the matter is that he never had much of a chance with Bill Parcells.
At some point, then-Yankees manager Joe Torre told Parcells that Henson had confidence issues. For those of you who don't know, Parcells hangs on Torre's and Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa's every word.
Parcells casts a pretty large shadow in the league, and when he cut Henson, the league took notice. Here's hoping that Henson makes the most of his opportunity in Detroit.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Thanks to a longtime reader named Steve who is obsessed with former Yankees third baseman and Cowboys quarterback Drew Henson, I found myself reading an interesting column this morning. As Buddy Moorehouse of Livingston Daily.com reminds us, it's the 10-year anniversary of Sports Illustrated doing a feature on the "Golden Boy" out of Brighton (Mich.) High School.
"Will he be the starting quarterback as a freshman for defending national co-champion Michigan when its season opens on Sept. 5 at Notre Dame?" asked Leigh Montville in the Aug. 3 issue of SI. "Some of the stories say this could happen. Yes, it could. Will he be the next young star in New York Yankees pinstripes, a power-hitting third baseman who someday could be trying to bring Roger Maris' record back home to the Bronx? Other stories say this could happen. Could he have passed on the football scholarship and done something else? Could he have gone in the first round of the June baseball draft as a fastball pitcher, a 95-mph strikeout wonder? Could he have gone to a Division I college as a blue-chip basketball recruit, possibly as a two guard? Could. Could. Could."
All of that might sound over-the-top now, but at the time, Henson was considered the next big thing. At age 18, he was already dining with The Boss in Tampa, Fla., and he was on his way to a storied career at Michigan. Henson broke the hearts of Wolverine fans when he passed up a chance to win the national title his senior year and decided to focus on baseball. That's what happens when George Steinbrenner dangles $18 million in front of a prodigy.
For whatever reason, Henson wasn't able to meet the lofty expectations set for him in baseball or football. He's been successful financially, but I sense that he'd give that all back for a shot at meaningful playing time in the NFL.
The one thing I know for sure is that Bill Parcells was an awful fit for Henson. This was a Jerry Jones special delivery, and even when Henson performed admirably in NFL Europa in 2006, Parcells was completely dismissive of his work.
In case you didn't know, Parcells worships baseball men like Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre. He spends part of his offseason each year holed up with former Packers GM Ron Wolf near the St. Louis Cardinals' spring training home.
When Torre told Parcells that Henson didn't have the confidence to play professional sports, that was it. Now, Henson's playing days are probably over. But the reason you shouldn't feel too sorry for him is that he's having the time of his life.
He recently got married on Turks and Caicos, with his close friend Keyshawn Johnson in the audience, and he'll soon announce a lucrative new project he's been working on.
OK, I realize you guys weren't sitting around waiting for a Drew Henson blog entry, but that column just caught my eye. Thanks for indulging me.