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)

 


CCS, Signal Mountain Split In District 7-AA Matchup

The Chattanooga Christian School basketball teams split with Signal Mountain in a district 7-AA matchup at CCS.  The Lady Eagles of Signal Mountain held CCS to just 19 points, winning 32-19.  The Charger boys improved their district record to 2-0 with a 54-45 win.  In the low scoring girls game, Signal Mountain led 10-6 at the half.  Signal would score 14 ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Tyner Girls Defeated Howard 40-35

City Administrator Lurone Jennings Suspended For Misallocation Of Funds

Rev. Lurone Jennings, administrator of City Youth and Family Development, has been suspended for one week for misallocation of funds. He also is to be issued a letter of reprimand and will undergo ethics training. The action came after a critical audit report from City Auditor Stan Sewell. It says Mr. Jennings transferred $18,500 of funds to a program, Journey Educational ... (click for more)

1 Person Injured In Drive-by Shooting On North Germantown Road Friday Afternoon

A person was shot early Friday afternoon on North Germantown Road.  The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 1:45 p.m. to the 700 block of North Germantown Road on a person shot.   The victim was suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound, and  was transported to a local hospital by HCEMS.   The victim was shot from a suspect ... (click for more)

New School Funding Ideas

After reading the article “County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding,” I could not help but think about how helpful it would be to have the millions of taxpayer dollars given the owners of Walnut Common apartments to build some new schools.   In case you did not know, since 2008 our elected officials have given away millions in taxpayer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Facebook Starlet

The Pants Store, a toney women’s boutique in Birmingham’s Mountain Book community, held its annual Holiday Open House about a week or so and, as usual, the popular store was full of customers and holiday cheer. It was a festive gathering, fun for all, but as store employees cleaned up for the next day, they happened across an empty designer-shoe box and a brassiere somebody had ... (click for more)