BY ARMANDO SALGUEROasalguero@MiamiHerald.com
OAKLAND -- Before he could take back his starting job and get the career he planned as Miami's franchise quarterback back on course, Chad Henne knew he had to pay a price.
An NFL quarterback's life has costs. It isn't all about being the center of attention, and the leader, and the guy pitching sneakers. It's also about handling the pain and the haters and the lovers and sometimes questionable coaching and oftentimes some genius coaches.
This one speaks of heart and resiliency and, yes, guts, because on Nov. 22, Henne wasn't certain he would be playing against Oakland. Henne was hopeful he would play, but there is a wide wild gulf between hope and certainty.
So to bridge the gap, Henne had to spend hours, and hours, and then more hours, getting treatment for that still unstable left knee that knocked him from the Tennessee game and kept him out of the Chicago game.
One problem with that: The starting quarterback doesn't really have time to get treatment and prepare for the next opponent. There aren't enough hours in the week to do both things well.
So Henne went out and bought a computer to combine the two things -- watching tape and getting treatment right there on the Dolphins' training table.
``My questions all week long was what's he going to be like the next day,'' coach Tony Sparano said. ``We gave him a little bit more [work], a little bit more, a little bit more. And we were wondering what he'd be like the next day. I had no real way of telling that.
``Late in the week compared to early in the week he was at two different places. And to his credit, he juggled the treatment, the practice reps and the study. He had his laptop in the training table. So he did a tremendous job getting prepared.''
Better decisions, better moments would soon follow.
The 57-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Moore on third down was a thing of beauty. So was the 29-yarder down the seam to Patrick Cobbs for a touchdown. The 29-yarder he floated to Davone Bess over the cornerback and on time before the safety came over was major league as well.
And the 19-yard rope he extended to rookie Roberto Wallace on third-and-8 at the end of the third quarter was a clutch connection.
The Dolphins had only 13 pass plays of 25 yards or more before this game. That's about one big play per game. Henne had four completions of 25-yards or more against Oakland on Sunday.
``I was impressed with what Chad did,'' said Sparano, who won't be benching his quarterback again any time soon. ``I thought he played well. I wasn't sure what he would do coming off the injury. He got hit a couple of times during the course of the game but handled it well. I don't think he got rattled much at all. He was poised on the sideline.''
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