It’s easy to think of Drew Henson as a failed prospect in both football and basketball, but it doesn’t sound like the once-promising multi-sport athlete would have picked any other path.
Henson claimed the starting quarterback role at the University of Michigan as a Junior in 2000 – following the departure of Tom Brady – and promptly lead the Wolverines to a win over Ohio State, a Big Ten title, and a Citrus Bowl victory. Expectations were high for Henson and the Wolverines heading into his Senior season, but Henson left school early to play professional baseball with the New York Yankees.
He played parts of six seasons in the minor leagues (including three while still at Michigan) and appeared in eight major league games (collecting one hit) before deciding to “hang ‘em up” as a baseball player. He entered the NFL draft and was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round.
But Henson’s football career ended up being as unheralded as his baseball career. He appeared in only nine games – seven with Dallas in 2004 and two with Detroit in 2008 – and amassed a career passing line of 98 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
One might be tempted to look to his past and wonder what if. What if he stuck to football, finished his career at Michigan and jumped straight to the NFL? Or, perhaps, what if he had stuck it out in baseball instead of retiring from the sport when he was only 23 years old? Henson, however, doesn’t appear to be asking these questions himself.
“I love my life,” Henson told CBS’s Sweeny Murti. “If I hadn’t left baseball, I wouldn’t have moved to Dallas, I wouldn’t have met my wife, and I wouldn’t have the family we’re about to have. That in itself justifies all the decisions I’ve made. I mean, I’ll be good. I’ve saved my money, we have a comfortable life, and I’m coaching baseball.
Jokes are often made of the star quarterback who can’t leave town and is forced to drown his sorrows while wondering what might have been had the injury not occurred or had the coach put him into the game in the fourth quarter, but Henson’s outlook on life is decidedly more positive.
Henson’s athletic career may not have turned out to be as successful as he’d once hoped, but it sounds like he considers his life a success. In the end, that’s the much more important thing.