A Los Angeles native, Henley was a star cornerback at UCLA, where he was a consensus All American in 1988. He turned pro in 1989, drafted by the Los Angeles Rams, for whom he was defensive Rookie of the Year and in their starting lineup for six years. Henley took the field for the Rams’ last California game in December 1994, before the team moved to St. Louis.
That would also turn out to be Henley’s last football game, period. In 1995, Henley was one of four defendants convicted in a cocaine trafficking case—Henley claims only to have financed the criminal doings of childhood friend. While in jail awaiting sentencing, he convinced a guard to smuggle him a cell phone (which wasn’t easy in 1995, because they were huge back then). Henley used that phone to conduct business, like hiring a hitman to kill the presiding judge at his cocaine trafficking trial, and a Rams cheerleader who had testified against Henley. This, for the record, is not how you show the world you’re merely an innocent money man.
Ultimately, neither hit came through: Federal agents had secretly tape-recorded Henley in his cell talking about the $100,000 hit jobs. In summer ’96, Henley stood trial for a brand new slew of charges (13 in all) — as part of a plea deal, he admitted guilt to two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, and one count of bribing a guard. The other ten charges were dropped, but Henley was still sentenced to an incredibly long amount of prison time: 41 years, with no chance of parole. That’s not much of a “plea,” considering he won’t get out until he’s 70, but it’s better than the alternative: getting out when he’s ready to be buried.