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Thursday, June 4, 2009
Henderson, Del Rio talk it out

Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle John Henderson wants to make it clear: He's not faking an injury, he's committed to the Jacksonville Jaguars and eager to return to form.

Henderson missed his third consecutive practice Thursday because of a dislocated shoulder, an injury coach Jack Del Rio questioned earlier in the week.

Henderson insisted the injury is legit and said he and Del Rio worked out their differences in a private meeting.

"I was a little upset, but we talked about it and everything is all right," Henderson said. "We talked like men. I let him know about the shoulder. He saw the X-rays. He was good on it. We're both good and we're getting back to work."

Henderson said his shoulder will be re-evaluated Monday and hopes to return to organized team activities later next week.

"It just has to heal on its own," he said.

Henderson can only hope his relationship with Del Rio does the same.

Del Rio ripped the 6-foot-7, 335-pound veteran after he pulled himself out of drills Monday and suggested Henderson wasn't committed to the team and was just trying to avoid work.

"Back when I played, and even prior to that, I don't think anybody would have had to miss a snap for it," Del Rio said. "I think it's a minor bruise of sorts. I would think Vince Lombardi is probably rolling over [in his grave] right now. It's not something that should keep anybody out of work."

Del Rio didn't back down from his stance Thursday, saying he has high expectations for his team.

"I've been very clear on what I expect and what I'm looking for and the accountability from there," Del Rio said. "There's no more to report on, there's no more to talk about. Now it's just time to get back to work."

Henderson said Del Rio warned him about the comments, but he was still surprised when he heard them.

"Just like your daddy getting on you," Henderson said. "Let it be. It's not anything to get blown out of the water. You have bigger and better things to do right now."

Henderson also said Jacksonville is the place he wants to be. He was a first-round pick by the Jaguars in 2002 and has missed just three games in seven seasons.

"I love this team. I love the Jags," he said. "I'm in. In. Everybody hear that? I've bought in. I'm here. I'm with this organization. I've been here eight years. I'm not tired. I love this game."

Henderson made the Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2006, but his performance slipped considerably the last two seasons. Henderson blamed last year's problems on the changes associated with replacing much of the defensive coaching staff following coordinator Mike Smith's departure.

He said off-the-field issues caused the drop-off in 2006.

"It was hard dealing with it and now I've got to move on," Henderson said. "Can't dwell on the past no more."

The Jaguars drafted 320-pound defensive tackle Terrance Knighton in the third round in hopes of surrounding Henderson with more talent, but Del Rio believes Henderson needs to do more for the team to make any defensive improvement this fall.

"He just wants us to be in," Henderson said. "I know where he's coming from. He wants me to be that leader and I understand that and that's what I'm doing. I'm going to do that just for him and for this team. There are a lot of young guys on this team and they need somebody to follow, and I'm going to be one of them and I'm ready for it. I'm ready."