Ex-Michigan QB Drew Henson, hired as new Yankees minor league hitting coach, opens up about career
What would have happened had he stuck with baseball?
Four years after his retirement from one sport, and 10 years after he retired from the other, Henson is asking himself the same question.
"That’s the million-dollar question," Henson said in an extensive interview with CBS New York. "I feel, yeah, 100 percent, if I had played just one sport out of college then hopefully I’d still be playing. But we only get one life to live and every step along the way you try to make the best decisions and the most well thought out decisions."
Henson, from Brighton, was one of the greatest high school football players in this state's history, and went on to play quarterback for Michigan. But he also was a baseball star, and was drafted by the New York Yankees out of high school.
From 1998-2000, he did both, playing quarterback at Michigan in the fall and third base in the New York Yankees' farm system in the summer.
His story from there is well-known: He left the Wolverines after three seasons to pursue baseball full-time and had a cup of coffee in the Big Leagues before eventually fizzling out. He went back to football full-time in 2003, and went on to play for the Texans, Cowboys, Vikings and Lions with little success before retiring in 2009.
Now, Henson is back in baseball as a minor league hitting coach for the New York Yankees in the Gulf Coast League. He opened up about the transition during an interview with CBS New York.
Interestingly, he said even when he was playing quarterback at Michigan, he always saw himself playing baseball long-term.
"I mean that’s what I told (the Yankees') Mark Newman in ’98," Henson told CBS New York. "I said 'Hey if you guys draft me and allow me to play football at Michigan, I want to go to college, I want to play football, I want that experience, but I also see myself wanting to play baseball long term.
"I liked being a baseball player. The training on the baseball side is much more enjoyable than football. Hitting ground balls, just the act of practices and being on the field is fun. Football, you’re lifting and you’re running, not so much sport specific drills.
"There’s nothing like being a quarterback and having the ball in your hands and being under center. I’ll preface with that. But there’s also nothing like playing baseball every day and being around the clubhouse and teammates and this organization especially, I don’t think there’s anything like it."
Check out the rest of the interview here. It's an interesting look into a unique career -- one of the classic what-might-have-been tales.
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