Henderson Shorted In Comeback Player Of The Year Voting

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 7, 2011 – 9:45 am

It’s easy to fall into sore-loser mode the day after your arch rivals win the Super Bowl, so I’m going to opine on the 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award voting at the risk of sounding like a sore loser. Vikings LB E.J. Henderson received just 3.5 of the 50 votes for the award, a staggering shortage in my opinion.

To help avoid label of sore loser, the first thing I’ll do is congratulate Michael Vick on winning the award. Just a few years removed from being in prison following his involvement in a dog-fighting ring, Vick took the league by storm with his unmatched ability to make plays with his arms in the pocket and with his legs outside of the pocket. He’s worthy of praise and is a good example of how one can turn his/her life around and make a positive difference.

But I don’t think his story is one for which the Comeback Player of the Year Award should honor. As Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune noted on Monday during an appearance with our buddy PA on KFAN, Vick came back from an unfortunate situation that occurred because of choices he made. Shouldn’t the award honor someone who’s suffered from an event/injury/condition that was out of their control?  I also don’t think this was Vick’s comeback season. The 2010 season was his 2nd back in the NFL, with his unspectacular 2009 season serving as his first back in the league.

While I’ll acknowledge my obvious bias as an employee of the Vikings, I’ll also say that my vote would have gone to Henderson. While his 2010 season was not the best of his career, he did finish 2nd on the team in tackles with 139 and he tied for the team lead in INTs with 3. This was all a year removed from snapping his femur in a game last December. The injury, some speculated, could end his career. Yet there E.J. was, participating in training camp and starting at middle LB on opening day. It was also the second time he came back from a season-ending injury; Henderson missed much of the 2008 season with a foot injury.

Even if Vick is taken away from the voting, Henderson may not have won it. Henderson finished 3rd and Seattle WR Mike Williams finished 2nd with 8 votes. But my theory on the type of comeback the Comeback Player of the Year Award should honor applies to Williams as well. He didn’t have to “come back” from a devastating injury, either.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter because the award has been handed out and there’s no turning back now. And again, I’ll say congratulations to Vick for a great season and for what he’s been through in his life. But I’ll also say that Henderson deserved more consideration than he apparently received and, if you ask me, he deserved to win the award outright.

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