Seantrel Henderson’s roller-coaster football career at the University of Miami took one last strange turn Thursday when he decided to cut short his Pro Day.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Henderson “quit” halfway through UM’s Pro Day and thus “didn’t help himself” in the eyes of the 30 NFL teams in attendance. But Henderson’s agent, David Levine, rebutted that report, saying Henderson did not quit and did not participate in the final two drills because he was “dehydrated and felt sick.”
Saying he quit “was quite a mischaracterization,” Levine said.
Here’s something that might explain why Henderson struggled to finish Thursday: He measured in eight pounds heavier (6-7, 339) than he did two months ago at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Reporters heard Henderson saying he was tired after the workout.
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Considered the top UM prospect entering next month’s draft (92nd overall according to ESPN’S NFL Draft rankings), Henderson’s physical skills are held in high regard by NFL teams. But there remain concerns about his character.
Henderson was suspended at least three times at UM (including at least one for marijuana use). Teams also have questions as to why Henderson couldn’t permanently hold down a starting job at UM, starting in 26 of the 43 games he played in.
“I was partying a little bit too much at times,” Henderson said in January before the Senior Bowl when asked to explain his three suspensions at UM. “I had got into trouble a couple of times for marijuana. I just put all that behind me.”
Henderson’s Pro Day results weren’t exactly impressive. He skipped the bench press at the Combine. On Thursday, his 23-bench reps of 225 pounds (the NFL testing standard) were only two more than safety A.J. Highsmith. Teammate Brandon Linder put up 30 reps at the Combine, four fewer than team leader and defensive end Shayon Green did Thursday.
Levine said Henderson met with Giants general manager Jerry Reese after the workout and then did film work with Reese. Levine said Henderson also met with offensive line coaches from the Bengals, Jets and Seahawks after the workouts concluded. Henderson will dine with Dolphins officials Thursday night, then work out for Miami (along with numerous other players with local ties) on Friday.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin was the only NFL head coach in attendance Thursday. Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey was also there along with two other general managers and representatives and scouts from 30 NFL teams (the Bears and Redskins were only teams without reps). UM said three CFL teams were in attendance.
In all, 19 seniors from the 2013 team participated in Pro Day including quarterback Stephen Morris, offensive lineman Linder, receiver Allen Hurns and punter Pat O’Donnell — who were all invited to the NFL Combine and have the best shots at getting drafted.
Morris, rated the 12th best quarterback in the draft by ESPN, was impressive according to officials from two NFL teams in attendance. Though the plays were not being defended, Morris running back Eduardo Clements said Morris completed nearly all of his 67 throws. The only ones that weren’t caught were dropped.
“I got a lot of positive feedback [from NFL teams],” said Morris, who hadn’t thrown yet in front of scouts until Thursday.
Morris said his mechanics were much better because he has recovered from his troublesome Achilles’ injury. “When I was dealing with my Achilles’, I wasn’t even throwing off my right foot” last year, Morris said.
Morris spent time working in Los Angeles with Tom House, the former MLB pitching coach who has become a guru on quarterback menchanics. During his work with House, he bonded with NFL quarterbacks Andy Dalton, Terrelle Pryor and Matt Barkley, and picked the brains of Super Bowl winners Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, who previously held that position at UM, said Morris “looked really good” Thursday. Fisch said NFL teams are smart enough to know Morris played injured last year.
Morris has visits lined up with the Broncos (who have Brock Osweiler as Peyton Manning’s backup), Browns (who could draft two quarterbacks) and Panthers (where former Canes great Ken Dorsey is the quarterback coach).
• Hurns, trying to improve his 40-yard dash time, ran a 4.55 Thursday — the same he time he turned in at the combine. “A lot of people want to characterize you on your 40-yard dash and things like that, but I want to show teams I can do it all,” Hurns said.
Hurns said he felt like he dominated private workouts for the Texans and Bengals. He said he has been training with Pete Bommarito along with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Browns receivers Greg Little and Josh Gordon and gained six pounds from the end of the season (he weighs 198 now) while trimming his body fat down from 5.3 to 4.2 percent.
• Tight end Asante Cleveland looked good, according to an NFL official in attendance. Cleveland met with Eagles officials Tuesday and has a visit scheduled with Arizona.