Ex-Cowboy Henderson hits jackpot

$100 in lotto tickets nets about $14.5 million

March 25, 2000|By HOUSTON CHRONICLE

AUSTIN, Texas -- Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson already knew he was lucky. The former All-Pro Dallas Cowboys linebacker had survived the NFL, crack addiction, suicidal urges and prison.

And he already considered himself a rich man, at least compared to the inner-city youngsters he is devoted to helping.

But Henderson, 47, had powerful new proof of his good fortune and wealth yesterday: a Texas lottery ticket that will bring him about $14.5 million.

"I already have money. I've got a nice home, a big truck and some cars. The only thing that's going to change about me is it's going to add some zeros to my account," Henderson said.

He defied the game's 15.8 million-to-1 odds with six winning numbers out of 50 in Wednesday's drawing, capturing the biggest Lotto Texas jackpot of the year and one of the larger unshared pots.

"I know the odds of winning are like one in 17 million. But what are the odds of me winning?" he asked.

Henderson bought $100 worth of tickets for Wednesday's $28 million jackpot and allowed the computer to choose the winning numbers -- 5, 8, 17, 35, 38, 41.

Lottery officials, who issued the ticket preliminary validation yesterday, said that because Henderson chose the lump sum "cash-option" payment, his prize will actually amount to $14,491,235. After taxes, he'll get a check for $10,433,690, spokesman Keith Elkins said.

"Thank you, God. Thank you very much," he told KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas, Thursday night when he first disclosed he held the winning ticket.

After that interview, he said he celebrated alone.

"I had a one-man party. I went to 7-Eleven and got a sausage biscuit with egg, some little white donuts, some whole milk and a large bottle of water. That was the celebration spread," he said.

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