Henson still has sight set on baseball

Halfway through his second full season in the minor leagues, still struggling at the Triple-A level, Drew Henson isn't significantly closer to playing third base at Yankee Stadium than he was when he signed a contract with baseball's most storied franchise in 2001.

But then again, two months after the Houston Texans provided the former University of Michigan star quarterback a potentially tempting career alternative, Henson is no closer, either, to abandoning his baseball dreams and trading in his batting helmet for a headgear. In fact, Henson is every bit as adamant now about continuing his baseball career as he was when the Texans invested a sixth-round draft choice in him.

"Nothing has changed," Henson said early this week. "If anything, the question is getting a little bit old, to tell the truth. My plans are what they always have been. Just because it's getting closer to the NFL (training camps) opening doesn't make any difference."

Sources close to Henson confirmed Wednesday the Texans organization hasn't conducted any substantive negotiations with his representatives. The same sources expect some kind of sales pitch from Houston officials in the next week or two, but reiterated that Henson won't be in the Texans camp when it opens on July 25.

As the 19th player chosen in the sixth round, Henson would be "slotted" to get a likely three-year deal at about $975,000, with roughly $65,000 of that in a signing bonus. That hardly compares to the six-year, $17 million contract that Henson signed with New York.

His baseball deal, as ESPN.com has reported several times in recent months, includes base salaries of $2 million (in 2003), $2.2 million (2004), $3.8 million (2005) and $6 million (2006).

Almost as significant as those amounts is the fact they are all guaranteed. And the first addendum clause in Henson's contract, ESPN.com has confirmed, precludes him from playing football while still the Yankees' property.

"(The Yankees) still owe Drew a lot of money," said one of his agents, Ken Kremer, of IMG Football. "It would be tough, for a lot of reasons like the rookie pool, for the Texans to compete with that. But the bottom line is that Drew really wants to play baseball."

Through games of Tuesday, Henson, 23, was hitting .212 while playing for the Columbus Clippers, the Yankees' highest minor league affiliate. He had 63 hits, but 75 strikeouts, with 16 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and 40 RBI.

There continue to be rumors that Yankees owner George Steinbrenner might attempt to reach a settlement on the remaining years of Henson's deal but, even if that were the case, it probably would not occur until the end of the current baseball season.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.