|Lions' Henson learns to take nothing for granted|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 01 December 2008 13:04|
Henson's options were to return as a quarterback and candidate to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, or skip his senior season to take a crack at his dream of playing major league baseball.
After whiffing with the New York Yankees and later flopping for the Dallas Cowboys, Henson is getting a chance to salvage his NFL career with the winless Detroit Lions.
``I've learned to be thankful for what you have and to take nothing for granted,'' Henson said Monday. ``Even when things haven't turned out the way I wish they did with football or baseball, my perspective has changed and I'm at peace with whatever happens with my playing career.''
Detroit played him on Thanksgiving in a 47-10 loss to Tennessee - replacing Daunte Culpepper for the third time in four games - and Henson threw his first pass since playing on the same holiday four years ago in Dallas.
Henson completed one of two passes, connecting with Calvin Johnson on a 20-yard out.
good, coming in and playing without much gametime recently,'' Johnson said.
Coach Rod Marinelli said Culpepper will start Sunday at home against the Minnesota Vikings, the team he once starred for. But his first impressions of watching the 28-year-old Henson in a game were positive.
``He's really a talented guy and he's with a (quarterbacks) coach that he's familiar with in Scot (Loeffler) and he's put in a great offseason,'' Marinelli said. ``You're still knocking rust off a guy after being out a while, but he has unlimited potential.''
Henson and potential were inseparable words when he was younger, making news as a two-sport phenom at Brighton High School a decade ago and later keeping Tom Brady on the sidelines at times when they both played for the Wolverines.
He showed enough baseball talent that the New York Yankees drafted him, gave him a $2 million bonus and had few more millions waiting if he gave up football.
The Yankees traded Henson to Cincinnati when he made it clear he wanted to return to Michigan to start at quarterback as a junior. Draft analyst Mel Kiper rated Henson as the No. 2 underclassman quarterback behind Virginia Tech's Michael Vick.
ing up one of the sports that's difficult, but I've known that day was coming for a long time.''
A few months later, the Yankees got him back from the Reds and lured him away from football.
The storied franchise played him in eight games over the 2002 and 2003 seasons and he had only one hit in eight at-bats.
``I just don't think I gave it enough time,'' Henson said. ``I was 23 in my last season. My first two years, I was the youngest guy at Triple-A.
``I wanted the challenge and the Yankees wanted to give it to me, but it would've helped to take things a little slower.''
Henson and the Yankees later parted ways, the Houston Texans picked him in the sixth round of the 2003 draft and dealt him to the Cowboys.
He played for Dallas in seven games in 2004, starting one, and was 10-of-18 for 78 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
``I'd be lying if I said I never sat in bed thinking about what if I came back for my senior year,'' Henson acknowledged. ``That's only human, but at each point of my life I felt like I made the decisions that were best for me. But it definitely would've helped my football career to stick with the sport.''
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``Being home and being a regular person gives you a better perspective on where football fits in the big picture,'' he said. ``When you're young and pushing, you're always looking for the next thing instead of enjoying the process. The last couple years, I've been able to do that and take pressure off myself because while it's important, it's not the be-all end-all.''
Just when Henson thought his football career might be over, the Lions called and offered him a chance.
He didn't make the team out of training camp, but stuck around on the practice squad long enough to be on the roster when Jon Kitna, Dan Orlvosky and Drew Stanton were injured and Culpepper was ineffective.
``This summer, I didn't even know if I'd get a chance to play again,'' Henson said. ``It's great to be able to keep my dream alive of playing at the highest level.''
Even if it's with a team staring at the first winless 16-game record in NFL history.