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November 3, 2010After Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham directed a choking gesture at him in overtime last Saturday night in Jacksonville, Florida kicker Chas Henry did something a tad unconventional for the manly world of football.
"I blew him a little kiss," Henry said Wednesday.
According to Henry, the move didn't sit too well with Grantham.
"That may be why he got a little upset," Henry said. "He did [the choke gesture] again."
When the time came to kick, Henry didn't choke.
Quite the opposite.
With the pressure on and Florida's Southeastern Conference eastern division hopes hanging in the balance, the senior calmly nailed a 37-yard field goal to give the Gators a 34-31 win.
Not long after the game ended, images of Grantham taunting Henry surfaced and hit the Internet hard. The incident quickly drew attention nationwide and caused some in the media to call for Grantham, who later said he regretted making the gesture, to be fined and/or suspended.
But unlike many, Henry isn't upset with Grantham. Not even a little.
In fact, he laughed about the episode Wednesday and suggested talk that Grantham should be punished was absurd.
"It was in the middle of a game," Henry said. "It's an intense game. It's one of the most intense rivalries in college football. It's just football. I think it's ridiculous what people are trying to say that he should have to apologize for it and everything, or that he should be fined."
For Henry, a Georgia native, the thrill from making Saturday's game-winning kick hasn't yet disappeared. And it's easy to understand why.
A standout punter, Henry was pressed into placekicking duties in Week 5 after starter Caleb Sturgis was sidelined by a stress fracture in his back. Henry made two field goals against Alabama, but then missed four straight, including a potential game-tying kick in the final minute of a loss to Mississippi State.
Henry also missed a 42-yarder against Georgia in the first quarter, but rebounded to make one from 34 yards out in the fourth quarter and, of course, his overtime attempt.
"Going into the game, I knew it was going to be my redemption week," Henry said.
Henry's walkoff winner was the first for Florida in 21 years. In a 16-13 victory at LSU in 1989, Tampa native Arden Czyzewski put one through as time expired.
Since his memorable kick, Henry's phone has been bombarded.
Asked how many people he had heard from, Henry said, "Probably like 80 or so."
The messages he has received, from both texts and on Facebook, were welcome.
"It's good to hear from everybody," Henry said. "Even after the Mississippi State game, I got a lot of messages of support. It was nice."