Monday, April 28, 2003
Texans select Drew Henson
By Mark Babineck
The Associated Press
HOUSTON - Texans general manager Charley Casserly says an NFL team can't have too many quarterbacks. What about third basemen?
Despite former Michigan star Drew Henson's assertion last week he's sticking with his baseball career and didn't want to be drafted, Houston selected the New York Yankees prospect in the sixth round Sunday.
"I think with Drew Henson it's simple," Casserly said. "If Drew Henson came out when he was scheduled to, he certainly would have been a first-round pick."
Casserly said Henson, who plays for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, might have been in the top 10 or top five in 2001 had he not signed a $17 million, six-year contract with the New York Yankees.
And, Casserly added, an unidentified team told him moments after the pick that it would have taken Henson if Houston hadn't.
Last week, Henson was blunt when asked if he had left football behind, calling it a "stupid question" and implied that a team would be wasting a pick on him.
"It's an honor and it's nice that an organization would still think that after being away for a couple of years that I could still help them," Henson said in a statement. "But right now, I haven't even looked at it as a career opportunity and being that I'm in the middle of a baseball season right now, this really isn't the time to address all of that."
However, the talk persists because Henson isn't distinguishing himself at Columbus, where he came into the weekend hitting below .200 and averaging a strikeout per every three at-bats. Those stats are a contrast to his final year at Michigan, when he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,146 yards, 18 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
"This is what I chose to do as my professional career, and my goal is still to get to the big leagues and help whatever organization I'm with win," Henson said. "Things haven't changed, and right now I'm just trying to finish up April, get into May, and not look too far down the line."
Henson himself has acknowledged the Texans might have taken him first in the 2002 draft instead of David Carr had Henson had a successful senior season at Michigan.
Houston will hold Henson's rights for a year and can trade them during that time. If he does not sign and is picked again in 2004, then remains unsigned for another year, he would become an NFL free agent in the spring of 2005.
Texans coach Dom Capers talked about Henson more as possible trade bait than a prospect for his team.
"Many people might wonder why you would do this since he's playing baseball now. We felt there could be real potential value," Capers said. "We'll just have to see what happens, but we do control his rights for a full year."
The Texans certainly aren't looking to upgrade at quarterback. They're set with Carr, last year's top pick who is entering the second year of a $47 million, six-year deal, and even added some depth Saturday by taking Louisville's Dave Ragone in the third round.
Casserly put a normal sixth-round pick's chances at becoming a significant contributor at about 10 percent, so he said taking a flier on Henson wasn't a terrific gamble.
"Hey, let's see what happens. We have his rights for the next 12 months," Casserly said. "You can't have enough quarterbacks, it's the most valuable position in football."
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