A Blast from the Past
Four years in the military apparently didn't rob Chad Hennings of the skills that made him the 1987 Outland Trophy winner. A defensive tackle who was the Cowboys' 11th-round pick in the 1988 draft, Hennings stunned the Dallas coaching stall' in a workout last Saturday, 24 hours before the Cowboys had planned to trade him for a middle-round draft pick.
At 6'6" and 272 pounds, 12 more than he weighed at the Air Force Academy, Hennings ran the 40 in 4.80. That time was .15 of a second slower than he had run as a senior, but it was faster than all but one defensive lineman's time at this year's NFL scouting combine. Hennings then ran the Cowboys' pass-rush drill .2 of a second faster than linebacker Marco Coleman, who the next day would become the 12th player picked, by the Dolphins, in the draft.
Early in Saturday's workout Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson turned to owner Jerry Jones and said. "We don't want to trade this man. By the end of the session, Johnson had penciled Hennings into his depth chart at defensive end. "He's an absolute gift out of the sky," said Johnson. "He could be a Pro Bowl player."
Maybe even the next Roger Staubach. "It's been a long time since I fell off the face of the earth four years ago." said Hennings, who was trained as a lighter pilot and spent the last 18 months based in England. "But it's been an interesting career."
First Things First
At 8 a.m. on Sunday, Colt general manager Jim Irsay, who hadn't been to bed since Friday morning, walked grimly into the Indianapolis hotel where agent Marvin Demoff was staying. This should have been a very happy morning for Irsay, because in two hours the Colts would have the first two picks in the draft—the first time since 1958 that a team had such an advantage. And Irsay wanted to rebuild his defense around tackle Steve Emtman of Washington, who is one of Demoff's clients, and Texas A&M linebacker Quentin Coryatt. In fact, Irsay wanted both players signed before he selected them. "But everything was dead," Irsay would say on Sunday night. "I honestly didn't think we'd get anything done."
The problem: Emtman, as a matter of pride, wanted to be the first player taken in the draft. The Colts, however, figured they could sign Coryatt for far less than the $9.5 million over four years that Emtman wanted, and, if they picked Coryatt first, they could then sign Emtman for less than Coryatt. Such a Coryatt-Emtman package would cost Indianapolis about $14 million. But Emtman's unwavering wish to be first—which if not granted would have led to brutal negotiations with Demoff or the need to draft somebody else-meant Irsay would have to ante up about $3 million more for his two prize picks.
The solution: Irsay and Demoff reached a compromise on Emtman's contract, settling for $8.6 million for four years. That still left Emtman with a huge raise over last year's No. 1 selection, defensive tackle Russell Maryland, who got a five-year deal worth $6.8 million from the Cowboys, and made Emtman the highest-paid defensive player in league history. Coryatt, who was delighted to be the No. 2 pick, signed for $8.2 million over four years.
The key for the Colts: Both Emtman and Coryatt will be at Indy's minicamp May 7-10. "We got the top two picks in a good draft, and we got 'em signed," Irsay said. "How unbelievable is that?"