John Henderson (Getty Images)
The big news around Jacksonville over the past week was that of Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson being called out by head coach Jack Del Rio for basically being “soft.” Henderson took himself out of some OTA practices complaining of shoulder pain, and Del Rio believed it was just a case of a veteran looking to get out of the June heat.
"Back when I played, and even prior to that, I don't think anybody would have had to miss a snap for it," Del Rio said smugly. "I think it's a minor bruise of sorts. I would think Vince Lombardi is probably rolling over [in his grave] right now. It's not something that should keep anybody out of work."
When the dust settled, dust being X-rays in this particular situation, it was found that John Henderson had a grade two shoulder separation, an injury that often requires surgery. Clearly the injury was not fabricated by the two-time Pro Bowler.
Despite his head coach’s insulting comments, Henderson took the proverbial high road while dealing with the situation.
"I was a little upset, but we talked about it and everything is all right," Henderson said. "We talked like men. I let him know about the shoulder. He saw the X-rays. He was good on it. We're both good and we're getting back to work."
Del Rio was trying to make an example of Henderson with his comments, and create some unity in a locker room which he clearly lost a year ago thanks to more than a few “me-first” types of players.
"He just wants us to be in," Henderson said. "I know where he's coming from. He wants me to be that leader and I understand that and that's what I'm doing.”
It would’ve been very easy for Henderson to backlash against his coach, being that his injury is legit and the Jaguars head man has had problems with key veterans seemingly every year of his tenure in Jacksonville. Still, “Big John” appears to be on board.
“I'm going to do that just for him and for this team,” the Jaguars former Pro Bowl defensive tackle added. “There are a lot of young guys on this team and they need somebody to follow, and I'm going to be one of them and I'm ready for it. I'm ready."
Jack Del Rio is looking for leaders in his locker room, and calling out veterans may not be the best way to find them and set an example. Still, John Henderson put his obviously hurt feelings to the side and showed what real leadership is. Perhaps everyone in the Jaguars organization should take notice.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive and host of the CB Sports Radio Show on ESPN 1420, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
For more, go to: JagNation.com