NASHVILLE – Derrick Henry had a message on Tuesday for those who hope he will be the same Derrick Henry who led the NFL in the rush in 2019 and 2020.
Simply put, the broken leg that removed it in the middle of the 2021 campaign makes it impossible.
“[When] something like this is definitely changing you, “said Henry after the Tennessee Titans’ mandatory training session. “You appreciate the game more. Of course, I missed my teammates, to have this team friendship and just to be absent. “
This was the first significant injury in his professional career. This happened at the beginning of the victory in week 8 over the Indianapolis Colts. He finished the race and passed the ball 28 times, but his longest win was nine yards, breaking a streak of 31 consecutive games in the regular season with at least one throw of 10 yards or more.
Choosing from the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Henry missed just one week as a rookie and another at the end of 2019. This time, however, he missed the last nine games because he was on reserve for injuries after injury recovery surgery.
He returned for the loss in the playoffs from Cincinnati and carried the ball 20 times. His longest win in this was nine yards, as in the game when he was injured.
“When I came back, I felt good, but I didn’t play well enough,” he said. “There is no excuse. I had to be better and I had to be better.
“But I’m fine now.”
Although he can better appreciate the sport and his ability to play it, the question of whether he can be a quarterback who dominated the NFL for all or part of three seasons (2019-21) remains unanswered.
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His appearance on the training field on Tuesday was his first of the offseason. Henry stayed away during the voluntary part of the off-season program and trained alone, mostly in Dallas, as he had done for the previous two years.
In an effort to return to peak performance, however, he spent extra time this off-season working with a physiotherapist under the guidance of a surgeon who repaired his leg.
“He does a lot of work with his feet and” finding his toes “- (the physiotherapist) always tells me that when I train – and all sorts of different things,” he said. “I feel good running in the hills, a little limited running and being on the field, catching balls, all these things to make sure I’m ready.
Even with the time he missed, Henry’s 900 fastest in the last three seasons easily led the league during that time. Dalwin Cook of Minnesota – with 811 – is the only other player with at least 800.
This workload probably contributed to the injury and led many to speculate that Henry’s best days were behind him – and those days were pretty good. Keep in mind that his 4504 yards are at least 600 more than any other quarterback, and his 2,027 running yards in 2020 are the most in the last three years (fifth of all time), while his 1,540 in 2019 are ranked fourth during this period.
In the best of circumstances, it would be difficult to maintain this type of production. For his part, however, Henry will not admit anything.
“I had time away,” he said. “I trained like crazy, I did my best to fix my body. I just worked. ”
And the time that has passed, he believes, will do everything differently and help him be the same runner as he was.
“You have to let her heal with a bone. It takes time and things like that, “said Henry. “You just want to make sure you take care of your body by doing your best so that when the time comes again, you are prepared and ready.
“How long has it been since I played? The leg is good. The foot is good. “