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Rookie RB Derrick Henry Passes Test on Day One

Posted May 13, 2016

Titans rookie RB Derrick Henry passes test on Day One.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  “Is that Derrick Henry? Is that Derrick Henry?

Henry, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama, heard the teasing from his fellow teammate in a noisy locker room, but he did his best to ignore it. Following Friday’s rookie minicamp with the Titans, he was all business, just like he was on the football field.

“It was good to get out there and fly around, do everything we learned in meetings,’’ Henry said. “I’m just trying to play hard, and hustle. I felt comfortable, but I know there’s things I definitely have to get better at.

“In the NFL, you have to take care of responsibilities. You are a pro now, it is not college. So you have to go out there to work, not to play.”

Henry and the rest of the team’s rookies wrapped up their first day of a three-day minicamp at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Friday.

It’s safe to say Henry looks like a pro, and runs like one, too.

Last season, Henry ran for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns while guiding the Crimson Tide to the national championship. The Titans drafted him in the second round of the NFL Draft.

“He looks like a d-end out there running the ball, but he is a lot faster,’’ tackle Jack Conklin said of Henry, a guy he plans to clear the way for in seasons to come. “He’s a running back, and I’m an offensive lineman. It is my job to open up the holes for him and let him take it to the house. He is a great running back. I am happy to have him on my team.”

Henry took the first carry in offensive drills, and showed a burst. On Day One, he repeatedly broke through the line of scrimmage and into the secondary on running plays. No, defenders aren’t allowed to tackle at this point, but it’s already clear Henry is an imposing force. 

Running backs coach Sylvester Croom stayed on Henry about keeping his feet up in individual drills.

Coach Mike Mularkey praised him for his work.

“I liked a lot of things he did,’’ Mularkey said of Henry. “Some of the holes, some of the plays we are running. His reads on the run were good for the very first day with a whole new offensive line and a fullback in front of him. But also some of the things he did protection wise. Some of the guys got beat up front and he had no problem stepping right up and picking up leakage so that is good to see very first day from him.”

Henry said he’s down to 243 pounds, which is a few pounds from where he’d like to be this fall. The 6-foot-3 running back is listed at 247 pounds on the official roster.

Henry said he’s had great interaction with the veterans since arriving in town, from running back DeMarco Murray to tight end Delanie Walker to quarterback Marcus Mariota.

He called them “good dudes.”

“We have a lot of good guys here,’’ he said. “It’s a room full of guys you can learn from. They are very helpful, and have given me great advice.”

Henry, who ran for 3,591 yards and 42 touchdowns while averaging 87.6 yards per game in three seasons at Alabama, said he’s ready to do his part.

“I never doubt myself,’’ he said. “I am just coming into work, trying to get better every day, and try and execute on the field.

“I see guys (here) who are welcoming. But you have to earn respect on the field with how you play, and how you execute.”