No word on Henry's fate, but Broncos remain upbeat

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos are still awaiting
the NFL's decision on whether tailback Travis Henry will have to
spend a year out of football over a failed drug test in September.

Coach Mike Shanahan said he hadn't heard anything Friday and
didn't want to speculate about whether he'd receive a ruling by
day's end, as several reports had suggested.

"I really don't know. There's been rumors," Shanahan said. "I
haven't heard anything. It's just speculation."

The Broncos were hopeful that a ruling on Friday would be good
news. The league likes to mete out punishment before the work week
begins in earnest on Wednesday to avoid a competitive disadvantage
by removing a player who has been a part of pregame preparations.

Because the failed drug test occurred while Henry was still
under the two-year probationary period after serving a four-game
drug-related suspension while with the Tennessee Titans in 2005, he
is subject to a one-year suspension this time.

Henry was in a jovial mood Friday and said he wasn't worried
about the pending decision from commissioner Roger Goodell, who
heard his appeal in Arizona in early November.

"I'm good. I keep doing what I can do. You aren't going to get
me to talk" about the case, Henry told The Associated Press after
practice. "There ain't anything I can tell you because I don't

After missing three games with a torn posterior cruciate
ligament in his left knee that he sustained Nov. 4 at Detroit,
Henry practiced all week and expects to return to the lineup at
Oakland on Sunday.

Henry was notified in September that he had failed a drug test
for marijuana. He disputed the results and sued the NFL to avoid a
suspension. He contends the league violated its substance abuse
policy by not allowing his expert to be present for the testing of
his urine sample.

Shanahan has said he believes Henry because he passed a
polygraph test and a recent hair sample came back negative for
marijuana. Shanahan said if he thought his running back had used
illicit drugs, he would have kicked him off the team.

Henry's case is believed to revolve around the hair sample and
also his passing drug tests days before and after the positive
urine test he took as part of his involvement in the NFL's drug
program, suggesting what was found couldn't have been anything more
than second-hand smoke.

Henry signed a five-year, $22.5 million free agent contract that
included $12 million in guarantees this offseason after the Titans
released him in a cost-saving move. He led the league in rushing
after the first month of the season with 433 yards, but he's missed
four games and managed just 147 yards since then and hasn't scored
a touchdown since Week 3.

Although he declared himself ready to return to the Broncos'
backfield, Henry acknowledged Friday that he's still on the mend.

"I'm not going to say I'm 100 percent because that's not true.
I'm doing what I got to do to get back there, to get back 100
percent," Henry said. "We running backs take the most hits, the
most beatings."

The Broncos are hopeful that they'll have their top tailback and
No. 1 receiver together for the first time since Week 3 when they
visit Oakland. Javon Walker, who underwent knee surgery earlier
this season, returned from a seven-game absence last week but
didn't have any catches at Chicago.

He had a good week of practice and anticipates being a bigger
part of the offense.

"I feel like a million bucks. I feel good," Walker said. "I
had a good week. I'm looking forward to Sunday."