How Tennessee Titans' Derrick Henry is approaching Year 7 after injury-shortened 2021 season
The veteran running back missed nine games last season after suffering a Jones fracture in his right foot, a break on the fifth metatarsal bone.
He returned for the divisional-round playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but posted just 62 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries (3.1 yards per rush) in the loss.
“Definitely,” Henry said Tuesday when asked if he’s a different player than the one coming back from injury last postseason. “I’ve had time away. I’ve been training like crazy, doing everything I can to get my body right. I’ve just been working. And at that time (when I was returning), I was off for like 9-10 weeks and coming back. I felt good, but I didn’t play well enough and there’s no excuse. I got to be better and I should’ve been better, but I feel good now.”
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The foot issue marked the first serious injury of Henry’s NFL career. He missed just two games in his first five seasons.
Henry acknowledged that the foot injury changed him.
“You appreciate the game more,” the two-time Pro Bowler said. “I missed my teammates, having that team camaraderie. With a bone, you have to let it heal on its own. It takes time and things like that. You just want to make sure you’re taking care of your body, doing everything possible so that when the time comes again, you’re prepared and ready.”
He reiterated multiple times that he felt fine training this offseason.
“Doing a lot of footwork and making sure I’m finding my toes,” Henry said of his routine. “Balance on my foot. … Running hills. Doing restricted running. Being on the field catching the ball. Doing all those types of things to make sure I’m ready.”
Asked why he wasn’t at voluntary organized team activities, Henry said he found enjoyment in training on his own early in the COVID-19 pandemic, when players weren’t at team facilities for the offseason program.
“I felt like if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Henry said. “I was communicating with the coaches. They knew what was going on. Talked to them every now and then. So everything was good.”