The football lover in George Steinbrenner would have enjoyed being in the tower at the Yankees’ minor league complex Tuesday. On one field standing behind the batting cage stood Drew Henson, the former Michigan and NFL quarterback who played eight games for the Yankees. On another field along the first base line was Billy Hart, a former USC backup quarterback and Astros minor league player. Henson is in his first year as a hitting coach with one of the two Yankees teams in the Gulf Coast League. Hart is an assistant to minor league head Mark Newman. “They are both bright guys,’’ Newman said of the former quarterbacks. Henson is the more recognizable name. He signed a six-year, $17 million deal with the Yankees after being picked in the third round of the 1998 amateur draft. Instead of heading straight to the baseball diamond following high school, he opted to go to Michigan and play football. He was picked in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL draft by the Houston Texans. The 2003 season marked his last in baseball. He turned to football once again in 2004, after being traded by the Texans to the Cowboys. He retired from football four years later after stints with the Cowboys, Vikings and Lions. Now, he is starting all over again at the same complex he arrived at as an 18-year-old. “I did some college football for ESPN3 in the fall of 2010 and 2011 and enjoyed it, but it also showed me I wanted to get with a franchise again,’’ said Henson, who appeared in eight games for the Yankees in 2002-03. “I spoke with some football teams last summer and then I spoke to Mark. When I was playing here I had a long-term idea that I would work with the franchise again in some capacity, and they were gracious enough to bring me back.’’ As a minor leaguer, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Henson impressed with power but batted .234 in three Triple-A seasons. Because he never has been a hitting coach, the 33-year-old again is in a learning mode.
Former QBs find roles in Yankees’ farm system
New York Post | Mar 6