What the heck, as long as we're on a roll, let's just keep on going, shall we?
A couple of weeks ago, when the Sporting News announced their 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, I wrote this piece for SB Nation Minnesota about it. At the time, I wasn't sure if the Sporting News award was the only one, or if there was another "official" Comeback Player of the Year Award that would be given out later on down the track.
Well, it turns out that there is. And E.J. Henderson isn't getting that one, either.
No, it's just been announced that the recipient of the 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award is the same recipient of the Sporting News award in the same category, that being quarterback Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Again, let me repeat the words that seem to be today's theme here at DN, as spoken by latter-day American philosopher Carl Brutananadilewski.
"You have gotta be freaking kidding me."
Let me make perfectly clear what I've said numerous times on this site when raving about the fact that E.J. Henderson was even on the field for the Vikings this year. When Henderson's injury was first diagnosed, it was widely thought that he wasn't even going to play this year. We should be sitting here talking about E.J. Henderson's chances at the 2011 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, not the 2010 version. What happened to #56 that December night in Arizona was one of the most gruesome things that any of us had ever seen on a football field, particularly considering that NBC replayed it a ton of times before realizing, "Oh, crap, dude really got his leg screwed up, didn't he?"
But E.J. Henderson worked his tail off this off-season. The Minnesota Vikings' training staff did such an amazing and outstanding job with him that he not only was on the field for the Vikings' regular season opener against the New Orleans Saints, but he had come back a full month before that for the second pre-season game of the year in San Francisco. Yes, E.J. Henderson had come all the way back to play full-speed NFL football from an injury that's generally associated with car wrecks in about eight months. They had to put a titanium rod in his leg to do it, but by God, the man was out there, and he wasn't just going through the motions. . .the guy wound up with a Pro Bowl spot by the time the smoke had cleared on the 2010 season.
But that just wasn't good enough. No, in order to get recognized for this award, E.J. Henderson needed to come back from something far more life-altering and dramatic. Like murdering animals, getting caught, and doing time in prison. Because, really, that's what this award is about. . .not fighting and working hard coming back from something you didn't have a lot of control over, but "coming back" because you screwed up your life of your own damn volition and have managed to get everyone to think that you're some sort of a feel-good story.
Yeah, Michael Vick had a very good season in 2010, one that nobody could have expected going into this year. But, seriously. . .what did he "come back" from? Certainly nothing compared to what E.J. Henderson came back from, that's for sure.
In order to get a jump start on next year's Comeback Player of the Year Award, I hope that the Vikings have called "dibs" on Plaxico Burress. Or, maybe, we need to set our sights even lower. When is Rae Carruth up for parole? Has he been staying in football shape while he's been doing time? Man, that guy would be a shoo-in.
Post-season awards are not generally something I get terribly worked up over, but this one sticks in my craw (as you can obviously tell). It's probably a combination of things. . .a bad season in Minnesota, some of the sting of Cris Carter getting passed over again for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and so forth. But, quite frankly, it probably comes down to the fact that. . .well, by God, the 2010 Minnesota Vikings didn't have a hell of a lot to cheer about, and E.J. Henderson was one of the few bright spots that this team had this year. For him to lose out on this award to a guy that, quite frankly, doesn't deserve it as much as he does. . .yeah, I said it. . .just annoys the heck out of me.
Eventually, at some point in time, something positive is going to happen to this team. It damn well has to. At some point, the powers that govern professional football, whomever or whatever they may be, are finally going to get tired of kicking the Minnesota Vikings and their fans in the teeth. But it would be really, really awesome if "some point in time" just happened to be really, really soon.