Thursday, December 17, 2009

RIP Chris Henry

He coulda been a contender.

Sure, he had the talent and the opportunity, but Chris Henry never really made it big for what he was intended. His body, his innate design was meant for gridiron greatness, but Henry's ability to achieve was clouded with his many hangups with the law.

An extensive rap sheet full of arrests for DUI, assault, marijuana possession and criminal damaging, Henry's illegal entanglements did more to tarnish his reputation and threaten his future as a wide receiver in the NFL.

But something happened, and Chris Henry finally learned a tough lesson - we all have to play by the rules. He started cleaning up his checkered act after a four-game suspension in the 2008 season, and finished with 19 receptions for 220 yards and two touchdowns.

I had an interesting brush with the Cincinnati Bengal just about a month ago. It could have turned into a bit of drama, but he made it quite apparent he didn't want any trouble - he just wanted some pizza.

Some of my friends and I stopped by Lucy Blue in Over-the-Rhine for some late night 'za after an event at Music Hall. We waited in our heels and hose, teeth chattering in the November cold, when a strapping gentleman strode to the head of the line.

A dear friend of mine, a scrappy attorney who is busy making change in Greater Cincinnati, was none too pleased to be bypassed by this guy. She puffed up her chest and offered a brief exchange, essentially threatening to kick his ass with her stilettos.

That's when a gentleman friend of ours whispered to me, "Hey. Does she know she's trying to pick a fight with Chris Henry?"

My friend tossed a few barbs at him, but Henry stood there silently, leaning against the pick-up window in a hoodie and a pair of jeans. I smiled and tossed out a comment along the lines of Hey shouldn't you be getting ready for tomorrow's game?

The man grew quiet and said, "I'm not who you think I am. Besides, the Bengals are in Oakland. And I'm here."

"Yeah, but you're on the D-L," I replied.

Chris Henry smiled, grabbed his pizza and hopped in the back of a big, shiny black SUV.

He just wanted some pizza. No trouble. No fanfare. No confrontation.


He coulda been a contender.

*** *** *** ***

In closing, here's what Chris Henry says, in his own words, about the transformation his life has experienced.


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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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