Sources: Henderson narrows list

Updated: June 11, 2010, 1:05 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Free-agent defensive tackle John Henderson, released in late April by the Jacksonville Jaguars, will decide Friday where to continue his NFL career, league sources told ESPN.com late Thursday night.

The eight-year veteran was pursued by a handful of teams but in recent days has narrowed his list of suitors. The sources did not indicate which team Henderson will choose.

Henderson, 31, is regarded as one of the best players remaining in the unrestricted free-agent pool. The two-time Pro Bowl defender was released as the Jags continued in the offseason to remake a defense that ranked No. 23 in the league in 2009. In '08, the team traded Henderson's longtime interior partner, defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, to the Buffalo Bills for a pair of draft choices.

The pair once represented the best inside defensive line tandem in the NFL against the run. Henderson was the club's first-round draft choice in 2002, the ninth player taken overall. Stroud was Jacksonville's first-round selection a year earlier.

A former University of Tennessee standout, Henderson started in 120 of 124 appearances in eight seasons with the Jaguars. He registered 329 tackles, 29 sacks and eight forced fumbles. But he did not have more than three sacks in any season over the last five years and was a victim of a decision by Jacksonville officials to get younger and quicker upfront.

The Jaguars chose defensive tackle Tyson Alualu with their first-round choice this year, and the former University of California star is expected to join second-year veteran Terrance Knighton in the starting lineup. The Jags released Henderson just four days after taking Alualu in the draft.

Henderson, who signed a six-year, $34 million contract extension in 2006, was scheduled to earn a base salary of $5 million in 2010.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

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