Henry convinces Shanahan he did not violate substance abuse policy

Updated: November 13, 2007, 9:48 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Travis Henry has convinced coach Mike Shanahan he's not a pothead. Now he'll take his case to the NFL.

Travis Henry

Henry

Shanahan said Henry passed a lie detector test and a recent hair sample taken from Henry came back negative for marijuana.

"If the tests were positive, Travis would not be on our football team right now," Shanahan said. "When he went back and took the hair sample and that was negative, the lie detector test and that was negative, we'll let due process take care of itself. If Travis took a test and it was positive, after what he promised me, he wouldn't be on the football team right now."

The Denver Broncos' troubled tailback is trying to keep the league from suspending him over the results of a drug test earlier this season. He'll present his case to the NFL in Phoenix on Friday.

If he's unsuccessful, he faces a year's suspension.

Shanahan is confident that won't be the case.

Shanahan said he doesn't expect to hear back from the league on a ruling until after his team's game against the Tennessee Titans, Henry's former team, next Monday night.

"I don't think they would do that," Shanahan said. "You practice somebody during the week and not let them play Monday night? I don't think that's been done before. I'm sure it will be the day after or the week after."

Either way, Shanahan believes in his running back, who signed a five-year, $22.5 million free agent contract that included $12 million in guarantees this offseason after the Titans released him in a cost-saving move.

Henry, who had been suspended for four games in September 2005 for violating the league's substance abuse policy while in Tennessee, was weeks away from cycling out of the drug program when a random test came back positive.

Henry sued the NFL to keep from being suspended for a year. He contends the league violated its substance abuse policy by not allowing his expert to be present for the testing of his urine sample.

The lawsuit is separate from his hearing this week in Phoenix.

Henry led the league in rushing after the first month of the season, but he's been dealing with bruised ribs and an aching knee that has kept him out of two games. He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3.

He had 433 yards after the first four weeks, including three 100-yard games, but has rushed for just 147 yards since.

Henry has made other news off the field, too. In August, court documents in a Georgia child support case revealed that Henry, 28, has fathered nine children by nine women in four southern states and has been ordered to pay child support for seven of them. He also had to borrow money from the Titans to fulfill one of those judgments, according to court records.

Henry has preferred to keep his focus on the field, but he's been unable to get carries consistently because of his health. He's going to get an MRI this week on his swollen left knee.

Henry wanted to play Sunday. Shanahan instead went with undrafted rookie Selvin Young, who rushed for 109 yards and his first NFL touchdown in a 27-11 win at Kansas City.

"Before the game, if you would have gotten a close-up of me, I had tears coming out of my eyes," Young said. "It has just been so long and so much dreaming, wishing and working hard. I feel blessed."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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