Jacksonville Jaguars’ Chad Henne playing for last laugh against Miami Dolphins

Chad Henne was often ridiculed during his time as Dolphins quarterback, but he has a chance for payback playing behind center for Jacksonville.

12/13/2012 12:01 AM

12/13/2012 1:25 AM

From the something-you-probably-don’t-know-about-Chad-Henne file:

He’s actually a cut-up. A jokester. One silly dude.

Yes, Henne — who some of the Miami media’s crueler members took to calling “The Robot” for his stiff, preprogrammed answers — has a lighter side.

“He’s a very funny guy,” said quarterback Matt Moore, Henne’s teammate for one season. “From what I remember, we just had a good time, joking around about whatever, making fun of [reserve quarterback Pat] Devlin.”

On Sunday, Henne hopes to get the last laugh on a franchise — and a city — where he spent the past four years before being signed by Jacksonville. Before people were comparing Ryan Tannehill to Dan Marino, Henne had that unlucky burden.

Now free from those expectations, Henne has a fresh start in Jacksonville, where he’s the serendipitous starter of the 2-11 Jaguars, who visit Sun Life Stadium on Sunday.

But when given a chance to rip the team that gave up on him after 31 starts (earning a 13-18 record), Henne — characteristically — took the high road.

“They gave me every opportunity and they drafted me there, and I appreciate that,” he said. “But sometimes things don’t work out and you move on, but I definitely felt I had my fair share [of chances] and I appreciate the opportunity down there.”

Now he’s on the other end of the state, and has a chance to not only play, but to win the starting job in 2013. The Blaine Gabbert Experiment appears to be a failure — Gabbert lost the job to injury and never regained it — and so the final month of the season is a prolonged job interview for Henne.

So far, the results have been mixed. After a four-touchdown explosion against Houston, Henne has struggled. He has completed just 51.6 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and five interceptions.

Still, he has been more efficient than the quarterback who replaced him in Miami. Ryan Tannehill has a lower quarterback rating (72.5 to 76.5) and the same number of touchdowns, despite throwing 214 more passes than Henne.

“His role [was] to be the backup and hopefully mentor Blaine, which he did an unbelievable job,” Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said. “And if he had to step in and take over, he did. And has done it well.

“He’s done everything we expected him to do. That’s why we signed him.”

Added Moore, who took the job from Henne midway through 2011 season, only to get similarly passed over for Tannehill this fall:

“It’s a great situation for him. Hopefully, he’s taking advantage of the opportunity he’s getting with the reps that he’s getting and the games that he’s playing.”

The jury, it appears, remains out for the Jaguars’ brain trust. When pressed, Mularkey would not commit to Henne beyond the next three games. Henne is due to earn $2.6 million in 2013, the final year of his current contract.

And for all his struggles, Gabbert is a first-round pick, and teams usually don’t give up on them after just two seasons.

“As for my future, I’m just worried about the present,” Henne said. “I’m worried about this game, and what I can do to help win this game.

“I just want to play out this season the best I can and show the coaches in this organization that I can be their future, their starting quarterback.”

And if redemption against his old employer is part of the equation, all the better.

“I can’t control a lot of things that go on, but, you know what, I believe in myself and I know a lot of guys in this locker room believe in me and this organization,” Henne added.

“Everybody can put the blame on me. I’m still going to go home with my head held high knowing that I did the best I can.”

And for Henne, that’s no laughing matter.

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