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Henderson Takes Crack At Broadcasting


A graduate of North Carolina with a bachelor's degree in physical education, Green Bay Packers fullback William Henderson planned to use this offseason like he had others in the past, working toward a pair of master's degrees in physical therapy and orthotics and prosthetics.

Instead, Henderson finds himself in an unlikely place for a guy approaching his ninth season of professional football: NFL Europe.

He's not there as a player, of course, but rather as an analyst for FOX Sports.

Henderson made his debut last weekend opposite play-by-play man Spero Dedes, and this Sunday will join Nick Halling to handle the call of the Scottish Claymores-Berlin Thunder game, which will be available to United States audiences via DirecTV.

"Broadcasting is something I just wanted to try," Henderson said Thursday via telephone in Berlin. "It's just one of the many interests that I have."

Henderson first considered broadcasting two offseasons ago, but his preliminary inquiries with FOX turned up empty.

Then last season Henderson filled in for running back Ahman Green when FOX pre-recorded interviews for the Packers' match-up with Tampa Bay. From that session, the FOX crew spotted Henderson's potential.

"They were impressed by the way I answered the questions, and that I did so quickly and concisely," Henderson remembered. "They said: 'Why haven't you tried to contact us?' and asked if I'd be interested in doing some NFL Europe games. Five weeks later they offered me the job."

Although he'd never called a game, Henderson already had some experience in front of a camera. The past four seasons he's co-hosted the weekly football show Monday Night Kickoff on Green Bay's WBAY-TV.

But as Henderson found out last weekend, working Amsterdam vs. Berlin, game analysis can be difficult, especially with an unfamiliar partner.

"Spero and I had never worked together before and we didn't get any dry runs," Henderson said. "For the first half I was pretty stiff. I had a hard time figuring out when he was going to cut off and when I would start talking.

"Then once I got a chance, I struggled with what to say. I think I used the word 'good' about a thousand times in the first half.

"But after the halftime break I came back and we got into the flow and it was much better. It was all about getting used to the atmosphere."

Henderson has talked to player-analysts like Troy Aikman and Daryl "Moose" Johnston for advice, but knows that it's experience that he needs more than anything.

Should he decide to further pursue broadcasting in the future he'll continue his studies in the media. But in the meantime, Henderson said he's actually picking up things that will help his current career as a football player.

"I always consider myself a student of the game, and I'm definitely going to come away from here with lots of questions for my position coaches," Henderson said. "During the season my attention is on myself, critiquing my own performance, or learning about the defense we're about to face. I don't have time to look at what other fullbacks are doing.

"Now I get to watch both sides of the ball. That helps me now as a fullback, but it will also help me as a broadcaster. In the end, it all comes down to knowing the game of football."

After a "fair" debut, Henderson figures that FOX will expect more of him this weekend. He's had one game to get rid of the butterflies, and now he has to show them that he can handle the pressure.

A block-first fullback and experienced special teams contributor, Henderson thinks his playing background will help him become an analyst who notices the crucial, but less glamorous part of the game that others miss.

"I'm not one of those players that gets all the glory and the fanfare," he said. "Because of that, I have fun giving recognition to parts of the game that often get ignored.

"It's easy to see the guy with the ball, but it's hard to follow a tight end when he's blocking, or a fullback, an offensive lineman, or even a receiver when he's blocking downfield."

It's also no easy task to make it in broadcasting, but Henderson welcomes the challenge.

"I'm just feeling it out right now," he said. "I still want to go back to school and take classes, and I'm looking into getting my pilot's license. I have a lot of interests and this is just one of them.

"My first love, still, is football."

Scotland-Berlin kicks off Sunday at 9 a.m. CT , and will be televised on DirecTV.

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