"My baggage to the bowl was my coke," he said. "I was going to get banged around out there and my nose was going to hurt . . . So besides having an addiction and a real habit, I needed cocaine as medication. I had to anesthetize my face."
Sometime during the second half, Henderson said, "I pulled out my inhaler. The Orange Bowl holds about 80,000 screaming fans, plus there were about 200 million watching worldwide on TV, and there I was on the sideline taking a couple of major snorts in front of them all. We lost that day. I lost that day. I was out of control."
Henderson said he was wired on cocaine his last day as a Cowboy in 1979.
During a loss to the Washington Redskins, Henderson mugged for the national television cameras on the sidelines, waving a towel in front of the lens. Linebacker coach Jerry Tubbs caught Henderson's act and told coach Tom Landry.
On the flight back to Dallas, Henderson said he drank gin "and snorted a noseful of coke in the lavatory." Then he shouted he wanted to be traded and cursed some coaches.
The next day, Landry ordered Henderson to his office.
Preparing for his meeting with Landry, Henderson said, "I laid out a line of coke about a half a gram long and snorted it all."
He said Landry, wiping away tears, told him, "You can play football for somebody else. I just can't handle you anymore. I'm putting you on waivers."
Henderson, who was released from prison last October after serving time for sexual assualt and bribery, said he has changed his life around and been free of drugs for almost four years.
In developments around the league yesterday.
* Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams said he does not want to play in the team's exhibition game Saturday in Tampa Bay, the city he left under bitter circumstances four years ago. Williams played for Tampa Bay from 1978 to 1982 and led the team to three playoff appearances. But he said he never was accepted because he is black.
After a contract dispute, Williams left the team to play in the USFL.
"I prefer not to get into all the media hype and all the emotions and a lot of drawn-out whatever," Williams said.
Washington coach Joe Gibbs said he probably will honor Williams' request.
* Herschel Walker, responding to the Dallas Cowboys' plans to utilize his receiving skills, said he is fearful that his talents as a running back are being overlooked. Walker said he is concerned that the team might attempt to convert him to wide receiver, and said he would rather be traded than change positions. The Cowboys, short at wide receiver in the absence of injured Mike Sherrard, are hoping to take advantage of Walker's versatility.
* Veteran tackle Irv Pankey, from Penn State, ended his 32-day holdout and agreed to terms on a contract with the Los Angeles Rams.
* Art Rooney Jr., ousted last year as head of the Pittsburgh Steelers' scouting department, will return to the team as a part-time scout.
* The Seattle Seahawks traded 34-year-old cornerback Dave Brown, an original member of the NFL team, to Green Bay in exchange for a 1988 draft choice.
* Ronnie Lott, Carlton Williamson and Eric Wright are scheduled to start together in San Francisco's defensive backfield for the first time since the 1985 season when the 49ers play the San Diego Chargers tonight. Wright missed virtually all of last season because of injuries.
* Sales of Cowboys season tickets are at their lowest point since the club moved to Texas Stadium in 1970, and single-ticket sales are lagging far being last year's pace, team officials said. The Cowboys were 7-9 last season, their first losing season since 1964.