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Henson simply won't be bargain

By RICK STROUD
Published February 22, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - Drew Henson is waiting in nearby Bradenton to discover which team he might play for next season while the Texans attempt to deal his rights.

But he may be miles short of becoming an effective NFL quarterback.

That said, the Bucs are sending mixed signals about their interest in the former Yankees third baseman and erstwhile Michigan quarterback.

Tampa Bay and Buffalo are believed to be two teams that the Texans might allow Henson to visit with next week.

Miami fell out of the running by trading a 2005 second-round pick to the Eagles for A.J. Feeley, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. That deal will become official March 3 when the trading period begins.

To gain the privilege of talking to Henson, the Bucs would have to agree to the Texans' pricetag: a second-round pick in 2005 or a conditional third-rounder that could become as high as a first-round choice if Henson reaches performance goals.

But coach Jon Gruden indicated Saturday the Bucs had not agreed to the Texans terms for Henson, who played in just eight games for the Wolverines three years ago.

"I wasn't at the workout. But I know he's a big, strong kid with a great arm who can make the throws," Gruden said. "He's impressive. He hasn't played in a long time, but he was pretty good at Michigan. If he'd come out and played football right away, he'd probably have been a high draft pick.

"If you're willing to give that much up, you better have a pretty strong feeling about him. But I'm unaware of us doing that. Maybe they're trying to drum up interest."

Before any team could trade for Henson, they would have to agree to a creative contract for him with agent Tom Condon.

Because the Texans drafted him in the sixth round and his first-year salary would be governed by the rookie pool, there would have to be some expensive escalator clauses or options involved.

Despite good reviews from his workout in Houston last week, many teams are wary of how quickly he would develop.

"In the interview process, I mean, he thinks he can really get going and all of a sudden he's ready to play and that's not true," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said.

"He only started eight games. How many quarterbacks who only played in eight games in college come in and right off the bat become good football players? Anyone who takes him, and he himself, have to really understand the word patience.

"I have no negatives on him. They liked his workout. They think he needs a lot of work. He did okay versus air. He has a little different delivery. It isn't the fastest delivery, he has a little baseball windup in his delivery. He was effective in the eight games he played, but how many quarterbacks who played four years of college come and can be effective as rookie, let alone a guy who only started only eight games?"

Of course, don't rule out any quarterbacks when it comes to Gruden.

"We'll consider bringing in anybody that we think can help us," Gruden said.

"I've said we're always going to make that a priority on our football team. We feel great about Brad (Johnson), we like Chris Simms and Shaun King is unrestricted and we're looking into his situation and there's some very good quarterbacks in this year's draft as well."

[Last modified February 22, 2004, 01:45:26]

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