The Rise and Fall of NFL Cornerback Darryl Henley

Michael McKnight

520 pages
10 photographs, 1 map


October 2014


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

October 2012


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

October 2012


$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Hailing from suburban Los Angeles, raised by supportive parents, and educated at a boys-only parochial school, Darryl Henley had it all. He earned a history degree from UCLA, became a first-team All American for the Bruins in 1988, and was a rising star as the starting cornerback for the LA Rams in the early nineties. How Henley, in the space of three short years, went from golden NFL role model to federal inmate is one of the most bizarre stories in the annals of sport-stars-turned-criminal.

The product of eight years of investigative research and over one hundred interviews, Intercepted takes us into Henley’s fourth season in the NFL, when he met Rams cheerleader Tracy Donaho and bumped into a boyhood friend named Willie McGowan, a onetime youth-league standout who had since turned to drug trafficking. Henley, Donaho, and McGowan embark on a scheme to transport cocaine that lands Henley in federal prison, where he attempts to arrange a Mafia hit on the sentencing judge and Donaho, who had been the star witness against Henley at his trial. Detailing how one of the best and brightest of our professional athletes destroyed himself through temptation, arrogance, and anger at a justice system that he felt had failed him, Intercepted is also a cautionary tale about American culture, as disturbing as it is impossible to ignore.

Author Bio

 Michael McKnight is a contributing writer at Sports Illustrated. Twitter: @McKnight_Mike_.


“Capturing the inner life of an NFL player is challenging enough. Revealing the torment, hubris, and shame that marked Darryl Henley’s downfall is a task that only the bravest reporter could undertake.”—Adam Schefter, NFL reporter for ESPN

“[Intercepted is] engrossing, heartbreaking, uplifting—and dynamic. A fantastic book.”—Jeff Pearlman, author of the New York Times bestseller Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton

“This tormented tale of hubris and corruption, loaded with seedy characters, reads like a legal thriller. But McKnight’s thorough examination of former Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darryl Henley’s sordid fall from grace is a cautionary all-too-real story of sex, drugs, and murder. . . . Sports Illustrated writer McKnight’s meticulous research and attention to detail nearly indicts the U.S. justice system and its own glaring flaws.”—Publishers Weekly

“As Henley once asked himself rhetorically, ‘How can you get bored with money, women, football, cameras, TV?’ . . . In the end what proved the fatal flaw of a man who looked as if he should have succeeded in the NFL and beyond? William Kopeny, an attorney who helped Henley’s defense team, offered McKnight this explanation: ‘Vanity and cool. . . . That’s the only thing I can come up with. Vanity and cool.’”—Bill Littlefield, Boston Globe

“A legal/mystery novel with a compelling tale of both justice and injustice of our legal system. There were definitely two sides to this story of Henley.”—Gridiron Greats Book Review



“[A] crime story page-turner.”—Library Journal

Table of Contents

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