Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Where are they now - Eric Henderson

Just a great article about Eric Henderson from the Cincy Bengals paper. How about this point that probably not many of you realized:

It was, in fact, Henderson's world-class character that got the club's attention in the first place. Never mind that, as a sophomore at Georgia Tech, he led the Atlantic Coast Conference in sacks and tackles for loss, and that, in spite of missing seven games for various injuries, his career numbers in those categories are virtually identical to those of Mario Williams, who, playing in the same conference as Henderson at North Carolina State, was chosen first overall in the April draft.

Did you know that?

"Eric just came over and we started chatting and he started telling me the story of his life," recalled Hayes, the central points of that story being that Henderson grew up in a rough part of New Orleans and never knew his father, and his mother died when he was 10, and he and his brother and sister went to live with their grandmother and aunt, and the grandmother died when he was a senior in high school and the aunt died when he was a freshman at Georgia Tech, where he smuggled in his brother and had him sleep on the couch in his dorm suite.

"It just amazed me, the fact that he could go through all that turmoil and hardship and still be able to graduate on time (with both a major and minor in business programs) and help out his brother and sister and have the career that he had. I was amazed by the fact that he was even eligible to get into college, let alone Georgia Tech. I thought, talking to this guy, the look in his eye, telling his story . . . I just thought he would be a great guy to add to my room. I said, 'I don't know if this guy can play, but when I get back to the office I'm going to watch this kid on tape.' I was just really taken by his story."