Cards: Action Packed 1991, Score Supplemental 1992
Acquired: Patriots Blitz 1992
Speedy defensive back Jerome Henderson was taken out of Syracuse in the 2nd round of the 1991 draft by the New England Patriots. He would provide valuable depth for the team also acting as a punt returner that initial season. Things looked good for Henderson who made 5 picks, 2 fumbles, 101 tackles and 201 punt return yards over two seasons, but by 1993 he was already playing for the Buffalo Bills, where he’d remain through 1994. In 1995 Henderson would sign with the Eagles, where he recovered one fumble and returned it for a touchdown, before he returned to the Patriots in 1996. 1997 would see him step up to a new challenge as he moved into the free safety position for the New York Jets, where he’d finish his career after 2 more additional seasons in 1998. At last check Henderson is the defensive backs coach for the Cleveland Browns. It’s interesting looking at the certainly journeyman like career of Henderson and where he has been as he has spent his whole college career and pro career within a 500 mile radius of New York City with 5 teams and 6 stops.
G/Gs 98/33 Tac 205 Sac 1 Fum Int 9 Yds 118 Avg 10.9 Td 0 Lg 45
Card: Action Packed Rookies 1991
Acquired: TTM, C/o The Buffalo Bills 1992
The 1991 draft was considered in retrospect a fairly stellar draft class for defensive backs. A run in the first ensured that Henry Jones would be the 6th DB off the boards in that round with the 20th pick. Among the notables taken ahead of Jones were Eric Turner, Todd Lyght and Stanley Richard. (After Jones Aeneas Williams, Merton Hanks, Todd Scott, and Darryll Lewis would all come off the board.) In the end Jones was right where he should. Although Henry didn’t have a breakout rookie season, his sophomore season would be one for the ages. 1992 would be his AP season. He’d pull down 8 picks for 263 yards including 2 touchdowns- one of them he returned 82 yards for the score. By 1993 teams began to avoid Henry skulking about in the secondary, he did however have a return for 85 yards and a touchdown. By 1995 injuries started impacting Henry’s playing time and most of his 1996 was marred by injury. He’d return in 1997 starting 15 games. In 1998 he’d add an additional 3 picks, and in his final season with the Bills, Jones would have 2 more interceptions and a touchdown, giving him 4 for his career. His 2001 season would be spent with the Minnesota Vikings while a final season in 2002 would be set in stone with the Falcons. Henry’s interception to touchdown ratio for the amount of games played and interceptions made is impressive but aren’t considered exceptional when compared to the top defensive backs in league history, even though there are some players who have made twice as many interceptions but have half as few touchdown returns.
G/Gs 158/134 Tac 585 Sac 5 Fum 7 Int 18 Yds 455 Avg 25.3 Td 4 Lg 85T
Card: ProSet 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: In Person 1992, San Antonio Riders v. Sacramento Surge
Kay Stephenson would get his break playing backup quarterback in the AFL for the San Diego Chargers in 1967 and the Bills in 1968. Stephenson played in the WFL and was the starting quarterback in the first game of the league’s existence for the Jacksonville Sharks. In 1975 he’d be named player personnel director and offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Express. After the WFL folded he’d be hired on by legendary coach Chuck Knox to be an assistant coach of the Los Angeles Rams where he’d follow Knox to the Buffalo Bills, becoming a member of Knox’s coaching tree.
Stephenson was named head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1983, replacing Knox who was hired by the Seattle Seahawks. He is most notable in his stint as the man behind the Bills helmet color change from white to red. It is rumored that the reason behind this was a need to differentiate the Bills from the rest of their division to help the team cut down on interceptions. (At that time the Patriots, Dolphins and Colts all had white helmets.) After an ignominious debut with the Bills where the team posted a 10-26 record, Kay would be fired in 1986. He’d actually be selling real estate when the WLAF approached him in 1990 to coach the Sacramento Surge. While the team had a rough inaugural season- Stephenson would guide the team in its second season to a World Bowl II with a dynamic offense led by former NFLer David Archer. After their thrilling victory over the Riders– I got Kay’s autograph on his two cards as they were leaving the locker room. I remember quite distinctly that he smoked like a chain smoker.
After the WLAF folded, he’d hop over to the Sacramento Gold Miners of the CFL to coach there for the 1993 and 1994 season. Stephenson during his time with the Gold Miners would post a 16-19-1 record before the franchise relocated to San Antonio and renamed itself the Texans. With the Texans the team posted a 12-6 record and qualified for the playoffs, but lost in the semi-finals. With the disbanding of the other CFLUSA teams after the 1995 season, Kay would find himself in the assistants’ chair again until he was promoted to head coach for the Edmonton Eskimos for the 1998 season where he resigned after a 9-9 season. Interesting tidbit about Stephenson is that he has been involved with 5 teams that experienced major downturns, contractions, or all together folded (Surge, Goldminers, Texans, Express, and Sharks). Below are his WLAF coaching statistics:
G 20 W 11 L 9 T 0 Pct .555