Big John Henderson Will Be Vols "Legend" At Sunday Opener

First Visit to Neyland Stadium Since His Final Game In 2001

Friday, August 29, 2014 - by Special to Chattanoogan.com

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – From 1999-2001, John Henderson cast a long shadow on the defensive line for Tennessee. Sunday, the man and the shadow return to Neyland Stadium for the first time since his final run through the “T”.

Henderson will be honored before the Tennessee-Utah State game as the Legend of the Game, celebrating a decorated career at UT that saw the Nashville native pick up a long list of awards, including two All-American nods and multiple SEC honors.

He was the 2000 Outland Trophy winner from a season that saw him record 71 tackles and an eye-popping 12 sacks.

In his Tennessee career, Henderson racked up 165 tackles and 20.5 sacks. He was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award as a senior, despite missing two games with injuries.

Henderson had to sit out his freshman season at UT in 1998 under the old partial qualifier rules, but used the year away from competition to grind away in practice, ready to make a contribution in 1999. He took over starting duties at defensive tackle in the fifth game of his sophomore season for an injured Billy Ratliff and never looked back. After making that initial start against Georgia in Neyland Stadium, Henderson would start every game he participated in for the remainder of his career.

The long shadow cast on opponents by Henderson led to one of the first interactive player features on the then-new video board at Neyland Stadium. After a sack or big play by Henderson, a few bars from the classic Jimmy Dean song "Big Bad John" would play with an animation of Henderson.

Henderson was a first round NFL Draft pick in 2002, going to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the ninth overall selection. He set his career high for sacks in his first season in Jacksonville with 6.5 to go with 53 tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries. In an NFL career that would span 10 seasons with the Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, Henderson recorded 489 tackles and 29 sacks. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2006.

Henderson retired from football following the 2011 season and will return to Neyland Stadium for the first time since he celebrated his Senior Day with a 38-0 shutout of Vanderbilt in 2001. 

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)

 


Notre Dame Sweeps GPS In Volleyball

Notre Dame volleyball coach Ted Hackett  wasn't real sure how well his team would play on Monday evening against non-district rival GPS, but he seemed pretty happy following the 2-0 win over the Bruisers in a match that took just over 35 minutes. The first set wasn't close as Notre Dame broke from a 13-13 tie to win by 25-13 as senior Mallory Hein recorded the last 12 service ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Time To Weigh In

After several weeks of reading and hearing about spousal abuse, child abuse and other atrocities in the sports world, it's finally time for me to weigh in. Neither spousal abuse nor child abuse should ever be considered a racial problem. It is a problem in our society; one that we have been dealing with for years. I wanted to state that fact first before going any further. The video ... (click for more)

Erlanger Finishes Fiscal Year With $18 Million Profit

After a major loss the year before, Erlanger Health System finished the fiscal year with an $18 million profit, officials announced Monday night. It was well ahead of the $2 million gain that Erlanger had budgeted for, and far better than last year's $8 million loss. The profit was boosted by a first-time $19,587,000 from a Public Hospital Supplemental payment and essential ... (click for more)

Chancellor Rules That IDB Must Reimburse Attorney Fees, Other Legal Costs For Helen Burns Sharp On TIF Lawsuit

Chancellor Pam Fleenor has ruled that Helen Burns Sharp, who sued over the validity of a $9 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for a planned major development on Aetna Mountain, should be reimbursed her discretionary costs as well as her attorney fees. Ms. Sharp said in a recent court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka were $74,427 at the time. The ... (click for more)

ChattaData Is A Real Advance For The City

This past Tuesday, the city of Chattanooga's new performance management tool called ChattaData was unveiled. As the chairman of the City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, I am excited to witness the city putting this important information online in a way that is accessible and transparent to all taxpayers. This approach shines light on how we as a city prioritize our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s ‘Hate The SEC’ Day

The boo birds came out on the fly on the ESPN website Sunday afternoon, this moments after the latest AP College Football “Top 25” included eight teams from the Southeastern Conference.   What set naysayers aglow was Mississippi State, after upsetting LSU 34-29 Saturday night, debuted on the list at No. 14 while Clemson, playing Florida State in an overtime thriller, got tossed ... (click for more)