KYDC ’92: Rookie Chad Hennings Has His First Practice

This post is part of the 1992 Season in Review series, marking the 25th anniversary of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl championship season.

The 1988 draft—the last one conducted while Tom Landry was head coach and Tex Schramm was general manager and president—proved to be significant thanks to the selection of Michael Irvin in the first round and linebacker Ken Norton in the second.

Most of the other picks did not amount to much, but the eleventh round selection of Chad Hennings proved to be helpful.

Hennings played for Air Force and won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in colleget football. But he was committed to four years of service. Dallas drafted him in the eleventh round of the 1988 draft knowing he would not be available for several years.

By 1992, Hennings was a 26-year-old rookie. He was actually allowed to play several years ahead of schedule because the armed services had made cutbacks.

He had his first practice on June 2, 1992, and he had been switched from defensive tackle to defensive end. His comment:

I had a little nervousness about today, but it’s great to be here. This is something I’ve waited four years to do. I can kind of understand all the attention today, and I know there are people making comparisons to Roger Staubach. But it’s a different person, a different time period.

I’ve got to prove myself is what it boils down to. I’ve got a long way to go.

Hennings only played in eight games in 1992 and continued to play sparingly during the early 1990s. He became a regular starter in 1996 and continued to play through the 2000 season, but he had injury problems that forced him to retire.

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Former New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells had open heart surgery on June 2. It was his third heart surgery in a six-month period.

Of course, Parcells would recover and became the Cowboys’ head coach eleven years later.