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Dallas Does Drew

TRADED By the Texans to the Cowboys for a third-round pick in
the 2005 draft, former Michigan quarterback and Yankees farmhand
Drew Henson. Three years ago Dallas scout Jim Garrett wrote a
report on Henson that was stunning in its praise. "Henson is a
clone of Troy Aikman and is better than Aikman due to his quicker
arm action and faster mechanics," Garrett wrote. "He will take a
team to the Super Bowl."

Now the Cowboys will find out if Garrett was right. After
spending a frustrating three years chasing his dream of becoming
a major leaguer, Henson signed last week with the Cowboys, who
had acquired him from Houston, the team that picked him in the
sixth round of the 2003 draft. The Texans had hoped to get a
second-rounder for Henson, and Henson had hoped to recoup much of
the $12 million in guaranteed money he left on the table when he
quit the Yankees. But suitors kept dropping by the wayside as
they acquired other quarterbacks (A.J. Feeley in Miami, Jeff
Garcia in Cleveland). And teams with long-term needs balked at
the asking price, a move they may well regret. The last time he
was on the field, Henson was a lock to be a high first-round
pick. Even if he doesn't make it, the Cowboys gambled well,
giving up only what will likely be a late-third-round pick and
little guaranteed money. Henson will get $3.5 million in bonuses
and likely-to-be-earned money--unless he becomes a solid starter,
in which case incentives would kick in. But he'd still not be too
pricey for a team that has struggled for three years to find a
replacement for Aikman. "I think what scared teams about Henson
now is the sacredness of [giving up] a high-round pick for him
after he'd sat out for a while, which is ludicrous," Garrett
said. "The position is so vital. I don't think sitting out is
that much of a disadvantage. God gave him the aptitude to play,
and he's only 24."

--Peter King

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP (HENSON WITH FOOTBALL) ARMS RACE He wasn't on the fast track at third base, but Henson'sNFL workouts got noticed.