It may not be as historic of a comeback as Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis or even Tim Tebow returning to Jacksonville for a game, but Jaguars starting quarterback Chad Henne is returning to Miami for the first time since leaving the team last year.
Originally drafted by the Dolphins in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Henne became the heir apparent to a revolving door of Dolphins quarterbacks. He rode the bench in 2008, appearing in only three games and completing seven of 12 passes for 67 yards. For an heir apparent, the Miami faithful got a tiny glimpse of who their future may be.
Entering 2009, Henne took the offense in his hands after Chad Pennington went down with injury. That season he started 13 games, won seven of them, and had a decent season statistically. His 2,872 yards, completing 60.8% of his passes, and 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions were indications of a player with talent who was still growing. With Pennington still on the roster, it was not expected for Henne to come in and start for the team that season, yet he did alright when called upon.
The pressure built up in Miami and the next season Henne got another shot at the starting job. After starting the season 4-4, Pennington was given his starting job back and Henne relegated to the bench. Pennington only started on game before Henne came in after he was injured. Henne himself was injured and Tyler Thigpen was called in to start until weke 14, when Henne returned under center.
The 2011 season saw Henne named the starter after some quarterback controversy news swilling about Miami. Henne left the season after only four games with injury and Matt Moore took over from there. Henne had a decent start to the season in week one, but was lackluster in the following three weeks leading the Dolphins to a 0-4 record for Moore to climb out of.
Henne was left out in the cold by the Dolphins following 2011. He signed a two year deal with the Jaguars and is starting the final games for them now. Henne’s career is one of missed and ill timed opportunities. He returns to Miami as a major question mark. He embodies what could have been. A gifted quarterback out of Michigan, Henne had potential to be something special, but the timing never worked out. He was thrust in early due to Pennington’s injury, wasn’t able to learn enough to hold the job, then forced back in when injuries again got him to play. His time under center was limited due to his own injuries again and, ultimately, he was no longer worth waiting on to see if he would work out.
The homecoming for Henne won’t be one of triumphant return. It will be a tough memory for Dolphins fans and a challenging past returning to Henne. Miami, his home for his first four NFL seasons, is no longer home. He never could get settled there.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims