Broncos cut The Cheese

The most productive running back in University of Tennessee history may be finished with football at the tender age of 29.

Travis Henry, who rushed for a program-best 3,078 yards between 1997 and 2000, was cut this week by the Denver Broncos. Head coach Mike Shanahan described the former Vol as "an inconsistent person" who did not seem appropriately committed to the team.

Henry, a 5-9, 230-pounder from Frostproof, Fla., was one of the NFL's best running backs earlier in his career, reaching the Pro Bowl in just his second pro season. After rushing for 729 yards as a Buffalo Bills rookie in 2001, he ran for 1,438 yards and 13 touchdowns in that Pro Bowl season of '02.

"The Cheese" had another big year in 2003, rushing for 1,356 yards and 10 touchdowns. Slowed by injuries, however, he managed just 326 yards with zero TDs in 2004.

Traded to the Tennessee Titans prior to the 2005 season, Henry continued to struggle. Suspended for four games due to a violation of the NFL's substance policy, he finished with just 335 yards that season.

Henry bounced back in a big way in 2006, however, rushing for 1,211 yards and a career-best 4.5 per-carry average. When the Titans declined to meet his post-season salary demands, he joined the Broncos as a free agent.

Henry proved to be a Denver disappointment in '07, however. After testing positive for marijuana in a urine sample last August, he appealed the ruling and won. He lost on the field, however, rushing for a mere 691 yards and four touchdowns.

When the former Vol missed the first two weeks of offseason workouts this spring with a strained hamstring, the Broncos acquired former Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman, then released Henry.

"The Cheese" probably still has some tread on his tires if another NFL team is willing to take a chance on him. The adverse publicity surrounding guys such as Adam "Pacman" Jones has made pro teams a little more wary of players with off-field issues, however, which means Henry's career may have come to a premature end.


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