Anthony Henry: Pick-ture Perfect

IRVING, Tex. - To see the scene surrounding cornerback Anthony Henry's locker Wednesday at Valley Ranch, a casual observer might think Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith or maybe Roger Staubach and Bob Lilly had re-joined the team.

OK, the gathering of media wasn't like those that clamored for soundbytes from the biggest stars in team history, but he certainly got a lot more attention than he normally does.

Henry is not exactly a quote machine. There are those upon whom writers can depend for a steady stream of quotes that are both insightful and entertaining enough to serve as the foundation for myriad articles. Terrell Owens is in a world of his own (fill in your own "in more ways than one" punchline here), but Tony Romo, Bradie James, Jason Witten, Marcus Spears, etc., can make throngs of reporters smile just by walking into the locker room. Corner one of those guys, and a notebook or recorder virtually fills itself.

Henry, on the other hand, resembles the late Marcel Marceau in shoulder pads and stretch-fit pants. Getting him to talk generally requires an act of Congress, if not an act of God. It's not that he refuses to talk or hides from the media â€" he's generally an accomodating sort â€" but he seems to like the spotlight about as much as Washington Redskins fans like hearing that Tony Romo is being fast-tracked to the Hall of Fame; some things are beyond unpleasant, but that doesn't mean they always can be avoided.

Yet there was Henry, surrounded by a couple dozen reporters Wednesday. Such are the trappings that go along with an NFC Defensive Player of the Week Award, which Henry won after he picked off a pair of passes in Sunday's victory over the Chicago Bears, returning one for the clinching touchdown.

But Henry oozes modesty from every pore. The defense won't be that strong, he said, until Terence Newman returns on a full-time basis, at 100 percent good health. His performance wasn't that remarkable Sunday, just a matter of being in the right place at the right time â€" or so he said. It wouldn't have been all that surprising to hear Henry announce that he intends to give 110 percent in this weekend's matchup with the St. Louis Rams and then enlighten the world with the announcement that every team has talented players who put their pants on one leg at a time.

The thing is, this "why do you care about me?" act is no act at all with Henry.

"I have a great relationship with God and with my family," he said when asked how he maintains humility as he ascends through the ranks of the NFL's top cornerbacks. "If I keep them close to me, I can keep things in the right perspective."

Hard to believe this guy plays the same position as the "Look At Me!" stars of yesteryear like Deion Sanders and the current versions, like Pacman Jones (pre-exile) and Fred Smoot.

Henry is a guy who could strut a little and be forgiven for doing so. He's big, fast and strong. He can cover physically, playing tight at the line of scrimmage, or he can turn and run with any receiver in the league and go up to battle for passes thrown in his direction. Yet he doesn't even suggest he is the key to the performance of the Dallas secondary.

"When we get Newman back, then we'll be ready to go," Henry said. "When he's back full-time, he'll be at full speed and we'll be on the same page. We've done OK so far, but to be where we want to be, we need him back."

So .... what will Henry do if opposing teams aren't throwing away from him all game long?

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