(“Henne For Your Thoughts” is an 8-part series which chronicles and details the life and philosophies of NFL quarterback and visionary, Chad Henne)
– By Wes Lilliman
“Ain’t a damn thing changed.”
Chad Henne sits on the edge of a bed, positioned in the center of his room at the Motel 6 located just outside of Wyomissing, PA – Henne’s hometown. Left-arm in a protective sling, he looks towards the windows, gazing both at and through the steady rain. Notoriously wise with his money, he shuns luxury in the name of practicality and convenience.
“No point in wasting resources on a fancy dwelling,” Henne says. “Not in this case. Not in most cases, really. It’s a place to stay and to sleep. You can’t take it with you, ya know? Ricky Williams slept in a sleeping bag and a tent, and he was considered a ‘free spirit.’ You’re looking at me like I’m subhuman…”
When asked why he doesn’t just stay at his house in West Lawn, which is within driving distance of the hotel, he looks to the ground and smirks.
“Brittany… my wife… she doesn’t like to see me in pain. She always claims that my injuries don’t bother her, but these eyes,” he says, pointing at each orbital offering with the thumbs on his respective hands, “… these eyes see the truth. This one, in particular, was really getting to her. Her own personal anxiety level was at, like, a 9.5. Out of 10, probably. Pretty intense. So, I told her that I was catching a flight to Atlanta to have the surgery done, and that Sage (Rosenfels, Henne’s replacement) would take me to and from where I needed to go.”
Chad Henne isn’t even friends with Rosenfels. The surgery is being performed in a day… at a local hospital.
Chad Henne created the scenario to ease his wife’s mind.
“It’s fine. She rests in peace tonight. Wait… not like that,” he laughs, “… that sounded bad, man. I just meant she’ll have an evening free of unnecessary worry. What’s the point? Of course, she’ll eventually find out about this, but even if she gets mad, she never stays mad at me. We’re bonded, after all.”
The two met and began dating when Henne, now 26, was just 14 years old. Already a seasoned lover, Henne had been the object of many a girl and/or woman’s desires. Something about Brittany, however, was different.
“Most females see what I am, experience my aura, watch the throws, and are rendered completely speechless,” he says, “… but Brittany came up to me and immediately told me how superb she thought I was…”
“… and I liked that.”
Now, though – like so many nights on the road, during an NFL season – the two are apart. Separated, not unlike Henne’s shoulder, which was driven into the grass on a broken play against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, October 2nd. Over the course of the ensuing three days, he tested the joint to determine what he should do. He went about his normal business and worked his way through practices with his Dolphin teammates. Unfortunately, after bench-pressing 385 pounds for 7 repetitions during a late Tuesday workout, he knew that surgery was necessary.
“Just didn’t feel right, ya know? I have the instinct of a weathered creature of the wild. I kinda knew already. But, moving that weight, it just felt sore and tight. That’s when I made my decision.”
Shoulder surgery of this nature means the end of a season, even for Henne, well-known for his rapid recoveries from injuries. The prospect of a Henne-less Miami team has already led to speculation that the team may not win another game this year… prompting rampant rumblings of the possibility that the Dolphins might find themselves in the position to draft highly-acclaimed Stanford quarterback, Andrew Luck.
Not surprisingly, Henne likes the idea.
“Andrew Luck is a nice football player. I know what I’ve seen. I recognize a leader when I see one. Really, though, think about it: what better place for Andy to land than in Miami…”
“… where he can watch and learn…”
For as long as he can remember, Henne has been lifting and raising the proverbial bar. His impending operation and recovery don’t seem to discourage him in the slightest.
“Lend an ear – it’s spelled with an ‘H.’ That’s Henne. That’s hope. Healing. Higher. Hallowed ground. Hall of Fame. I’ve done this all my life. I only know up, brief plateau, up, brief plateau, up, and so on. Ain’t a damn thing changed.”
One question does remain, though: how will he get home from the hospital?
“(chuckling)… I’ll figure it out. Probably take a cab. Maybe I’ll walk. Maybe… I’ll fly…”
Preposterous as it may sound, you believe him. The people of a small town in Pennsylvania always have believed him, ever since the day they first witnessed the arm. The day the witnessed… the rain…
– Check back next week for HENNE FOR YOUR THOUGHTS – CHAPTER II: THE RAIN SONG…