Friday, December 18, 2009

Maybe It Was The Best Time

By now you've all heard enough about Bengals receiver Chris Henry's unfortunate death to know the following:

-He had a checkered past
-He supposedly had a bright future.

Henry ran into trouble in college in West Virginia where he was told by then coach Rich Rodriguez that he was an embarrassment to himself and the program. He was considered a huge character risk coming into the NFL draft, but Cincinnati gave him a chance when they made him a third round pick in the 2005 draft.

Henry quickly showed why he was a character risk by getting arrested multiple times and being suspended for by the NFL for his conduct five different times. On the field, he showed flashes of brilliance as he stretched the field with his speed and opened things up for teammates.

His diaphanous acceptance of the rules are what made the Bengals cut him. His talent is why they brought him back in for another chance.

When Cincinnati cut him and brought him back, something seemed to click in Henry's head. He suddenly stopped acting the fool and worked hard at his profession and at being a better dad to his children.

His teammates and coaches had nothing but positive things to say about him from the beginning of this season all the way up to his death. And maybe that was for the best.

For all we know, Henry could have had a major relapse and began acting like an idiot again thereby ruining the gains he had made. He could have been lost when his football career ended and fallen into to drugs or another illegal activity that landed him in prison and ruined the lives of his kids.

I prefer to think that he died at the top of his game. He seemed to have figured things out and that's how everyone will remember him. His children can remember their dad as someone who died a good man and no one can tell them different.

Did he die too young? Of course. But he lived just long enough to get it right, which is something to be thankful for.

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