HenDog Needs A Coop
When free agency opens tomorrow, players all over the league will be looking for new football homes - among those players, former Redskin Robert Henson. The Redskins released the third year linebacker at the end of training camp last year, where he had been on the PUP list for an injury he suffered when Albert Haynesworth fell on his leg during practice.
It has been tough sledding for Henson, who also missed the entire 2010 season after suffering a knee injury in the final preseason game - a preseason that he had led the team in tackles before landing on the injured reserve list. Rather than get discouraged, he has made the most of the time off, "The area of my game the needed the most work was the mental part, just studying the game as a whole. Being a student of different schemes offensively as well as defensively," Henson stated, and then added good-naturedly, "I have had a lot of down time and that means a lot of studying!"
Drafted out of Texas Christian University, he continues to push forward in hopes of landing an NFL job. He isn't looking for a particular scheme or situation, "Coming out of college the scouts had questions about my ability to play in a 3-4, but I showed I can be effective in it while in Washington."
He knows his real niche and key to finding his way back on to an NFL roster has nothing to do with scheme though, "Special teams is my thing. Even in college most of my tackles were on special teams."
The middle linebacker has continued to work hard, stay in shape, and make sure that his knee is ready for the next opportunity. He is represented by super-agent Drew Rosenhaus, who Henson says continues to push hard for him.
Henson also said that he hasn't spoken to the Redskins about returning since leaving last August, but that he has stayed in contact with special teams coach Danny Smith.
"His message to me was to keep kicking at it because I have what it takes to be a key guy on Special Teams."
When he was drafted in 2009 in the sixth round, Gregg Williams had already moved on to Jacksonville (and then to New Orleans) but Henson played with many of the guys that Williams coached in Washington. So what did he think of the 'Bountygate' scandal having played with guys that were allegedly part of it, and that are now speaking out about it?
"Truthfully, money is thrown around a locker room and meeting rooms. But never for going after and injuring opposing players. Very few guys make it to the NFL, and the average career does not last long; so knowing that, players rarely take joy in dishing out pain. Think about what you see a player get injured, most of the time the first person to call the trainers over is the opposing player. Bounties have no place in the game so many enjoy, and very few get a chance to play."
So what of players that are taking this opportunity to now speak out?
"Players breaking Code is running rampant, it's a sign of selfishness and the need to be an individual in a team environment. With the media regularly blowing things out of proportion, its a quick way to poison a locker room. Players coming out and saying things anonymously is even worse, because then you wonder if you can trust any of your teammates which can then cause a rift between all players."
Obviously for a young player like Henson, there are other options available to football players these days when they're looking to get back to the NFL. He could go serve some time in the Canadian Football League. He could go play with Terrell Owens and the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the Indoor Football League. Would Henson ever consider such a path?
"I definitely wanna stay in the NFL, but I am not opposed to going somewhere else for a short while. If it does not happen soon I will explore other options though, to provide for my family."
Those that follow Henson on Twitter will not be the least bit surprised by any urgency that he shows towards looking after his family - he's a proud husband and father. Henson's wife Sarah is the daughter of pastor and best selling author Bishop T.D. Jakes, and author, and media personality Mrs. Serita Jakes. Henson met Sarah while at Texas Christian University, and they got married in 2008 before Robert's senior season. Sarah is a blossoming TV personality, an inspirational writer at sarahdhenson.com, and oversees the women's ministry at The Potter's House of Dallas.
When asked to describe his wife in a sentence, Henson wanted a paragraph or even a page, but obliged: "The most amazing person I know with the biggest heart; she totally completes me, and I could not imagine facing life without her or her love."
The only thing as obvious as his love for Sarah on his Twitter account, is how much Henson enjoys being a dad. He occasionally posts cute pictures of his kids, or posts cute things that they have said or done. Henson even interacts with other Redskins fans about their kids, and their experiences; it's very apparent that he is a proud daddy.
"Being a dad is an amazing experience with so many emotions, but watching your children grow to be respectable, hard working, assets to society, using the moral compass you have supplied, will be a feeling you will never forget!"
The moral compass that Henson will supply is one that he admits that until he met Sarah, and his Father-In-Law Bishop Jakes, was one prone to selfishness and had little respect for authority. He admitted that growing up without a father, "proved to be quite a challenge, while trying to navigate through life." Henson said that all changed when he met and fell in love with Sarah. Soon after, Bishop Jakes realized that they were serious, and "He began to spoon feed me the recipe for success and more importantly he REALLY showed me the fatherly love that I needed. Even in my twenties, I started to feel like a kid who had the luxury of both parents. He's always accessible and loving!"
So with his own moral compass now pointed North, Henson the family man, and father has to decide what is next, and what is best, for Henson the provider. It's not like he doesn't have options if the NFL doesn't work out for him, as he has already been offered a coaching position with his alma mater. Football may lose out altogether in the end though, "I have a great opportunity to get into Federal Law Enforcement, been a dream of mine since I was young."
For now though, Henson's going to continue to follow his dream of continuing to play in the National Football League.
There will be lots of underdogs trying to land NFL contracts over the upcoming days and weeks, put the HenDog on your list.
You can follow me on Twitter at @TheHogsdotNet and you can follow Robert at @Mr_Henson51
This article was released on 2012-03-12.
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