Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 6/20/13
TAMPA, Fla. Drew Henson has watched Wil Myers swing on occasion. He has seen the stats, read the reports. A decade removed from his life as baseballs Mr. Cant Miss who did just that, he understands the pressure involved with a high-profile call-up. A cautionary tale is part of his history. Hensons has advice for Myers, the Tampa Bay Rays prized outfield prospect who made his major league debut Tuesday at Fenway Park: Block the noise. Ignore it all. Trust your talent. Believe in a process. When the time is right, if your head is ready, results will follow. Accept the challenge, but be realistic as well. Ive had a bunch of years to think about my situation coming up, Henson told FOX Sports Florida on Thursday. At the end of the day, its a bigger stage, and theres a spotlight and more recognition. Its the same game youve always played. The things that he has done pretty successfully to get him to this point, he shouldnt change. You just continue to trust yourself and trust your talent, and youre ready when youre ready. It seems like the time is right now to enjoy the experience and really make a point to take the pressure off himself, to have fun. Henson has formed that perspective through experience, of course. Now, he is a 33-year-old hitting coach for one of the New York Yankees two Gulf Coast League teams here, far removed from his days as one of the majors most unforgettable rise-and-fall cases in recent memory. Life has changed for the former two-sport star whose legend formed growing up in Brighton, Mich. He announced his retirement from baseball in February 2004. Then he pursued an NFL career that included three teams (Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions) in five years. For the most part, Henson has stepped from the spotlight. He lives within a world of instruction where he molds young minds at the Himes Complex who dream about the majors like he did. Like Myers now, Hensons ceiling in baseball once appeared high. He had the sterling pedigree: A Michigan quarterback, a third-round draft pick by the Yankees in 1998. He had the money: A six-year, 17 million contract. He had the expectations: Someone seemingly guaranteed a lucrative future as a high-potential third baseman within one of sports most storied franchises. But the perfect life in pinstripes never occurred. Reality happened, and there were hard lessons. For Henson, Myers and everyone else who makes the climb, no promotion from the minors includes a script, let alone the promise of a pleasing ending. Henson debuted in the majors in September 2002, and the results were anemic: A .111 batting average (1 for 9) with three strikeouts in eight games over the 2002 and 2003 seasons. The former Mr. Cant Miss, the former one-day star, became an answer to the question, Whatever happened to . The early drive, the early promise, led somewhere else. A detour. I was always highly motivated, always ready for the next challenge, wanted to get out of Triple-A and get to the big leagues, said Henson, who was hired as a minor league coach last October. I probably put more pressure on myself than I needed to. I was always my harshest critic. Some of the things that helped me get (to the majors), I didnt have the patience to know when the time was right, the time was right, and trust the process. I dont know (Myers) personally, but it seems to me that the numbers he has put up and the fact that even though he didnt break with the club this year, he understood when the time is right, theyll bring him up. He has played great for the first three months (in the minors), and the time is right, and theyre making that move. Certainly, there are differences between how Myers and Henson were groomed. Myers hit .300 with 498 hits, 78 home runs and 316 RBI in parts of five years in the minors. Meanwhile, Henson hit .248 with 460 hits, 67 home runs and 274 RBI in parts of six seasons in the minors. Myers was the more productive prospect, the better-seasoned talent. Since his arrival in Tampa Bay, though, Myers has remained a fascination. The Rays must be cautious to nurture, not stunt the 22-year-olds development. On Sunday in his office, manager Joe Maddon said, Well try not to place the expectations too high, although I know its going to come from the outside. Sitting nearby behind Maddons desk, Andrew Friedman, the Rays executive vice president of baseball operations, said, I think him having the recent success hes had will just aid in him being able to come up here and exhale. Im just trying to put that aside right now, Myers said of the attention Monday. The game changes once you get to the big leagues. Its all about winning. But as Henson knows, the big leagues are also about managing the present. They are about working through struggle, hardship, inevitable slides. The best overcome, persevere, evolve. The others ask, Whats next? The burden of expectation binds Myers and Henson. Like Henson then, Myers will be presented with his own challenges as he tries to grow within the game. A decade later, Henson looks back on his career with a mature eye. I had such a unique experience playing the two sports playing for Michigan and playing for the Yankees, Henson said. There was a bit of attention, especially when I transitioned to playing full-time baseball. I probably had unrealistic expectations of the timeline for myself, with the limited number of minor league at-bats that I had, when I was 21 in Triple-A with barely a full season of minor league at-bats under my belt. But that was the challenge that I embraced. I wanted to get (to the majors) so bad, I think, that I didnt trust the process. When the plate discipline was right, when your swing mechanics were right, then youd be ready to go. For a guys whole career, its a constant learning curve. You just want the highs to be higher than the lows being low. Myers will learn as much in time. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

USF suspends DB indefinitely for role in shooting, arrest

Elway: Broncos plan to 'stay the course' with Siemian, Lynch

Boykin may have violated probation, could face jail time

Six reasons Raiders' move to Las Vegas will be awesome

Kraft: Patriots do not intend to trade Malcolm Butler

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brandon Marshall talks about how he can help Odell Beckham

Scherzer makes Tebow look silly in spring training at-bat

Lonzo Ball discusses headlines his father creates

Laettner taunts Kentucky after Elite Eight heartbreaker

Chargers finally sell out season tickets after two months

Report: Heat still hoping to trade Chris Bosh

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The 28 craziest ballpark foods for the 2017 season

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker