Brad Henke, a defensive tackle who played on Dick Tomey’s first two teams in 1987 and 1988 and went on to play in the NFL, died Tuesday of unknown causes at age 56, according to multiple reports.
He was a JC transfer who had 90 tackles as a senior captain in 1988 for the Wildcats. He was drafted in 1989 in the fourth round by the New York Giants but was let go in the final cut. He was picked up by the Broncos and played in the 1990 Super Bowl loss to San Francisco.
He sustained injuries that forced him to retire from professional football in 1994.
Thereafter, he began a career in acting and scored guest spots on multiple television series such as “Chicago Hope,” “Silk Stockings,” “ER,” “Michael Hayes,” “Arli$$” and “The Pretender.”
”I’m fortunate I’ve found something I love to do a million times more than playing football,” Henke said in a 1998 interview with the Tucson Citizen. ”I was kind of lost for a while after my football career ended, and I’m so glad I found this. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with the best of my life already behind me.”
Henke appeared in Netflix’s popular “Orange Is the New Black” series. He shared a SAG Award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series in 2017.
He acted in a number of cinematic movies, including “Pacific Rim.”