For the first time since that fateful night in Arizona last season, EJ Henderson took to the field Sunday night as a Minnesota Viking, and got some meaningful reps in. While it had been over eight months since he had any significant playing time against a real opponent, EJ was ready to see the field.
What he wasn't ready for, was the return of his Blood Fury.
"It was crazy", he said after towling down in the San Francisco locker room after the game. "I've had this happen to me before, where I kind of just lose consciousness, black out for a while, and experience the rest of the game in a red haze of anger, blood thirst, and the sounds of bones cracking and virgins dying. I used to love that sound until ... well ... you know. I thought that Rage had left my body, but I definately felt something again last night that overwhelmed me, and I know Anthony Dixon felt it too, when I jackhammered his skull into his feet."
EJ was a bit shakey after the game, disregarding his twitching as dehydration and nerves of getting back out on the field. "I was like a freshman cheerleader all over again" he said while slowly untaping his hands. And in a sense, he was. It had been months since he last snapped the neck of a quarterback, or barked etheral and immortal profanities at a wide eyed offensive linemen attempting to block him. EJ says those days of his Blood Fury were behind him though, that after his injury in 2009 he was able to find a place of peace within his body and mind which would prevent the return of that dreaded beast. But Sunday was different, and all too familiar.
"I talked to my brother after they pulled me from the game" EJ said, his head hanging in a daze. "He said I was calling to a Cthulu after making my tackles, and that I needed a towel for my mouth because I had bit a hole in my lip with some type of uncontrolled gnashing and barking at Alex Smith. It's weird, I don't even really mind the guy. He's got really pretty eyes, so I'm not sure why I would be so upset with him. But Erin said he had never seen me like this before.
"We spent so much time this offseason trying to center ourselves" EJ said, sighing into his hands. He looked sideways into a locker room mirror briefly before turning his head, perhaps afraid of what he would find. "But maybe I was just lying to myself. I mean, I know I can still play football, but I also know that my best football was played with reckless abandon. I didn't think I needed that anymore in order to be successful, but sometimes instincts just take over. Just ask Favre. Same thing happened with him on the last play of the NFC Championship Game. You just become ... not yourself when you're hurt and angry. And I don't think people would like me when I'm angry."
Regardless of what exactly happened Sunday night, EJ Henderson knows he can't be afraid of himself. "I've spent this offseason trying to re-identify myself as a football player with a metal plate in my leg. I've tried to not let this change who I am or how I play. I've tried to do this through spiritual and calming means. But fuck that. It doesn't calm me like biting the jugular out of a running back calms me. When I hit the field yesterday, and I heard for the first time in months my meat vessel slamming against another opponents and the soft whimper of life leaving him, I just lost my mind. I lost it, and reverted back to my old ways of the Blood Fury.
"And you know what? ... It felt good."