Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fare Thee Well...

I always liked Travis Henry. One of the unheralded running backs coming out of the 2001 draft with the likes of Deuce McAllister, Michael Bennett and LaDanian Tomlinson, Travis had a workman-like quality that I thought was admirable.

Now one of the most overused cliches in all of sports is that Buffalo fans are "blue-collar." This is a pretty condescending phrase, I think. I know people mean it like, "These people are real," but what it really means to me is, "These people are not really bright, so they have to work blue-collar jobs." You never hear anyone say something like, "Los Angeles Lakers fans are white-collar." It's stupid.

But maybe blue-collar is the best way to describe Travis. He's a good runner inside, legs always churning, never giving up. He gets yards where there aren't any. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he's a good cutback runner, and a decent receiver out of the backfield.

Travis Henry

He was the Bills' MVP in 2003 (as voted by his teammates), and it was well-deserved considering he played with broken ribs and a couple games on a bum leg. Fumbles a little too much, but an excellent player.

But I have to say, I always thought his attitude toward Willis McGahee (the Bills' new running back, and a potential superstar) was pretty poor. From day one, when Willis as drafted (some said too early at the time), Travis never was quite able to get over it. His first words on draft day were that it was a "slap in the face." It showed a lack of killer instinct. If someone is out there trying to take my job, I am gonna fight for it. It always seemed like Travis couldn't quite do it; he took a fatalistic attitude toward Willis.

Willis McGahee

In 2004, when the Bills were 0-4, and Travis got hurt, they finally put McGahee in. He had a huge game against Miami. Travis had been pretty ineffectual anyway early on, but McGahee sparked the offense. The team went on a 9-3 run to end the season. Willis is clearly the future of the team.

I liked Travis, and would have loved to see him have a better attitude. Because if he did, this could have been a pretty incredible backfield. But if you have to pick one, all you had to do was watch the Bills last year. They were a different team with McGahee in there. Not a slight against Travis, just a fact.

Travis had four solid years with the Bills, and I truly wish him all the best with the Tennesee Titans, but he's gonna have to learn to welcome competition instead of succumb to it.

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