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A week ago today (Wednesday) I had the pleasure of talking to E.J. Henderson, middle linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings.

If you saw Friday’s Aegis, you may have seen the results of the conversation. If you didn’t, you’ll be glad to know that E.J. is doing pretty well, just nearly nine months from a broken femur.

Some of you may ask, why a talk with Henderson? Well, for any newcomers to the area or to this paper, Henderson is a native of Aberdeen and a graduate of Aberdeen High School.

It was there that I had the pleasure of watching and covering Henderson in football and basketball and I had an occasional talk with him as well.

It was in those days that Henderson was a quiet, soft spoken leader. Some years later, it was a younger, outspoken brother Erin Henderson, who broke onto the scene.

Last week, I anticipated a potential problem. I was afraid I would not be able to hear Henderson all that well if he was as quiet as before and with the use of my company Blackberry.

Good news, Henderson was clear, loud and a great interview.

I recall in 2003, when a fellow photographer and I made the trip to Kansas City to cover Henderson’s first career NFL game, a preseason game against the Chiefs.

Afterwards, I got to talk to Henderson in the locker room. That was a real treat; me in there with all these huge guys, looking for E.J., who was seated in the back and around the corner.

I think I surprised him. I remember him questioning me on the fact that we came out there to see him.

Our latest conversation was good. I talked with Henderson for 25 minutes or so, and not all of our talk is what was needed for my story. And yes, off the record, I did ask about the whole Brett Favre saga and if you want to know what E.J. thinks, you’ll have to ask him. Here’s his number. Sike!

One of the things we talked about was a game back here in Harford County when E.J. was a senior at Aberdeen.

In those days, the Aberdeen-Edgewood football game was a big deal and on this particular night, it was not only a big deal, it was a big mess.

I told E.J. I remembered this game and how much fun it was to watch. I remembered his participation and that of Edgewood’s Allen Jordan.

As we talked, it was very quick and clear that E.J. remembered this game as well. As I told him I could not recall the other two players, one from Aberdeen and the other from Edgewood; he quickly filled in the blanks.

Rob Whitley was the other Aberdeen linebacker and E.J. said of the other Edgewood player, “he had that big neck roll.” Then he said, “I think his name was Early.”

He was right. Phil Early.

On this night, when Henderson, who doubled at fullback, ran the ball, it was Edgewood’s Jordan and Early who would deliver the blows to bring him down.

When the tables were turned and Jordan, also a fullback, took his turn at carrying the football, it was Henderson and Whitley who were returning the favors. Back and forth they went, in the driving rain and mud. No one got hurt and in this completely dirty game, it was all good clean fun. No Tide needed.

Interestingly enough, Aberdeen plays at Edgewood Friday night. Might there be rain? Who knows, but there won’t be any mud on the Rams new turf.


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