The Miami Herald
Mary Henley didn't hesitate. Her son June asked if he could invite a friend to stay overnight. Of course, she said. His friends were always welcome.
She didn't know Terry Glenn. She had no idea Glenn's mother had been murdered two years earlier, or that Glenn, by then 14, had since been bouncing from one relative's home to another.
She had no idea she was about to take in a foster son who eight years later would help turn the Henley household in Columbus, Ohio, into the focal point for not one but two of this season's most marvelous success stories.
``It was like a one-night, overnight stay,'' Mary Henley said. She laughed softly. `` ... for eight years.''
And a lifetime. Terry now is as much family as is June (shortened from Charles Jr.) or the Henleys' 18-year-old daughter Leetonya.
On Saturday afternoon Charles and Mary Henley will attend Ohio State's home game against Purdue. They will watch and cheer as Glenn, who leads the nation in receiving yards per game, tries to continue his game-breaking ways for the undefeated, No. 4-ranked Buckeyes.
Afterward, the Henleys will hurry home, tune in to ESPN and watch son June attempt to approximate against Oklahoma the 243 all-purpose yards with which he helped unbeaten, No. 7-ranked Kansas shock Colorado two weeks ago.
``I'm rejoicing,'' Mary Henley said. ``I'm so proud. We're just so thankful for the boys and their performance. It's just a blessing.''
Glenn, a fourth-year junior, played sparingly and in obscurity last year behind Ohio State's Joey Galloway and Chris Sanders, both now starters in the NFL. Glenn, succeeding and in some ways superseding them, has averaged more than 22 yards per reception and has scored with 10 of his 36 catches.
Henley, a year younger than the boyhood friend who became a brother, made an instant impact at Kansas in 1993. He set a school and Big Eight freshman rushing record with 1,127 yards. Last year he was on pace for another 1,000-yard season when a shoulder injury set him back.
At full health again, he already in his junior season has joined an elite corps of five running backs who have surpassed 2,000 career rushing yards at Kansas. The others: Gayle Sayers, John Riggins, Tony Sands and Laverne Smith.
Mitch Browning, the Kansas recruiting coordinator who like KU coach Glen Mason has longtime ties to Ohio State, recruited both Glenn and Henley.
Glenn's academic standing blocked Kansas' pursuit. But Browning wooed Henley away from Ohio State because Buckeye coaches wanted Henley as a defensive back and he wanted to play tailback.
The two young men have great athletic ability in common, Browning said. In personality, they differ markedly.
Glenn is introspective and quiet. ``He wouldn't say two words,'' Browning said of the withdrawn youth he encountered in recruitment.
``Terry has his quiet moments to himself,'' Mrs. Henley said. But the Henleys were always there when he needed to talk. ``My husband and I have always been in the church,'' Mrs. Henley said, ``and sometimes Terry would ask how God would allow something like that to happen to his mother.''
June Henley, by contrast, has always been outgoing and gregarious. ``He's the kind of kid you can spend all day with,'' Browning said. ``He likes to laugh and joke around.''
June takes the lead in frequent communication with Terry. ``I have one of those three-way lines,'' Mrs. Henley said, laughing. ``June is always calling home'' -- collect, of course -- ``and telling me, `Call Terry.' ''
Financially, the Henleys fall into the vast middle class. Charles Henley is a district circulation manager for The Columbus Dispatch. And at the time Glenn came into their lives, Charles was employed part-time.
``We weren't really financially able to take in a child without some help,'' Mrs. Henley said. ``But we could not turn him away.''
Georgia Hauser, an Ohio State graduate and fanatic, taught, counseled and befriended both Glenn and Henley at Brookhaven High in Columbus, where she has taught for 24 years.
It's easy for her to keep up with Terry's exploits. But she also has traveled to Lawrence to watch June play and has become friends with his parents.
``The Henleys are special,'' she said. ``If I lost my home and had nowhere to go, I would be at their door.'' And they would help, she said. ``That's the kind of people they are.''