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Jets LB Erin Henderson aiming to be “Comeback Player of the Year”

Although he’s not guaranteed a roster spot out of training camp, New York Jets linebacker Erin Henderson has some big goals for the 2015 NFL season.

And one of them is he wants to be in the running for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.

“I have it in my mind to become one of the comeback players or at least be in the conversation,” he said. “I think it’s an interesting story and I think there are lot of people out there who are suffering from similar things and maybe I can be an inspiration to them.”

The seeds of his motivation were planted on New Year’s Day of 2014 as he sat in a holding cell in suburban Minneapolis, where he had been arrested on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession following a single-car crash. It was his second arrest in six weeks. And he had plenty of time as he agonized about his life and the future.

“I’d never been to prison before,” he told ESPN. “I sat there that night … you’re in there by yourself and you have a lot of time to think about things and figure out which direction you want to go. Coach [Leslie] Frazier always used to tell us, ‘Tell me your vision, and I’ll show your future.’ That night, I decided to change my vision.”

Henderson checked into rehab and eventually signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Jets. Not a cent is guaranteed. He understands that his second chance could be his last chance. And he’s driven.

Henderson has beat the odds once before. He entered the league with the Minnesota Vikings’ as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He worked his way up to a starting job, but everything unraveled at the end of the 2013 season. After the second arrest, he was released by the Vikings. He received a four-game suspension by the league, which he served in 2014 as an unemployed linebacker.

“I waited until I was 27 years old to get into trouble,” he said. “I was in a bad place mentally and I didn’t necessarily know the best ways to handle it, so I went back to doing what I do best, the way I knew how to deal with it the best.”

Henderson has described himself as a recovering alcoholic. He declined to get into specifics, but he painted a quick picture of his upbringing, saying, “I was taught at a very young age, that’s how you handle your issues and your problems.”

One of his biggest supporters has been former Vikings teammate Greg Jennings, who became one of his biggest supporters. They engaged in brutally honest discussions in which Jennings shared personal feelings about his own fears and struggles. That transparency, he believes, may have helped Henderson unburden himself.

After rehab, Henderson auditioned for the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he failed to land a contract for 2014. He stayed in shape, taking a hot yoga class, and filled his empty Sundays by engaging in an American pastime: He occupied his man cave, watching the NFL RedZone channel. He enjoyed the down time with his family, but he longed to resume his career.

“I knew I wasn’t ready to walk away from the game,” he said. “I was just hoping the game wasn’t ready to be done with me.”

The Jets offered him a contract after a thorough check into his background. Their conclusion: Henderson is a good man who lost his way for a couple of bad months. The Jets asked him what he saw in the mirror, and his answer went something like this: “I see someone who can do pretty much anything he wants to do in life if he just decides to get out of his own way.”

Henderson didn’t make any excuses for his transgressions.

“I’ve always found ways to hold myself back and to not allow my life to shine as bright as possible,” he said. “I just got tired of it. I figured it was time to do something different and let people see who I really am and see the impact I can make on the world.”

Henderson said he’s clean and sober, insisting he has “the tools in my pocket” to maintain a healthy lifestyle. On the field, he’s a “high IQ football player,” according to Jennings. He’s getting plenty of practice reps, trying to win a backup job.

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Eric Decker asks fans why they love the Jets

Wide receiver Eric Decker has already admitted that he’s upset with the New York Jets season so far and Jets fan did their part in making sure that he didn’t start feeling any better.

Decker decided to head to Twitter and ask Jets fans a question that garnered a lot of hilarious responses.

 

Paying the bill for the Patriots

According to non-other than Forbes.com, the New England Patriots are worth $2.6 billion and are owned by Robert Kraft whose personal wealth is conservatively measured at $4.1 billion. The Patriots franchise ranks # 2 in value among NFL teams behind only the Dallas Cowboys with annual revenue of nearly $500 million. Robert Kraft bought the franchise in 1994 for $172 million. All this data was compiled by Forbes in August of 2014 - before their latest Super Bowl victory which has only increased their worth and his.

As a result of the “DeflateGate” controversy and the NFL’s decision to punish the Patriots and Tom Brady personally, tempers have flared on many sides of the controversy. The NFL has suspended Tom Brady without pay for the first four games of next season, fined the Patriots a record $1 million and  stripped them of their first-round draft pick in 2016 and fourth round pick in 2017.

What has transpired as a result of this controversy and resultant punishment leveed by the NFL front office speaks to a theme that is both pure sports and pure economics. Ardent Patriot fans have wasted no time in setting up a website on GoFundMe titled: “Paying the bill for the Patriots.” New England fans are rallying around Tom Brady and their team in an effort to raise $1 million dollars so the franchise won’t have to come up with the cash. Over 500 fans have committed to donating nearly $8,000 in total thus far. I am not kidding.

New York Jets fans have taken on this cause from a slightly different angle. The Jets have been on the losing end of this relationship for years. There is no blood lost by Jets fans at any misfortune that befalls their archrival Patriots. Seemingly overnight, 10 billboards in high traffic areas in the New York City metro-area have been plastered with messages meant to taunt Patriot fans and cast dispersions at Tom Brady’s character. I am not making this up.

If consumers have this kind of disposable income to waste, how far away can we be from a full and complete recovery in every sense of the economic word. Additionally, how far away can we be from interest rate normalization?

By the way, I have no stake in this scuffle. I am a New York Giants fan and season ticket holder my entire life. My family made certain of that. My grandfather and godfather, C.J. Devine, was a very close friend of Tim Mara when be founded the New York Giants in 1925.