JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Derrick Henry’s 99-yard touchdown run against the Jaguars last December made NFL history.
It’s a play Titans fans will never forget.
Titans tight end Jonnu Smith’s memory of the play is different.
He suffered a gruesome knee injury while making a block on the play that required surgery and started his eight-month recovery process.
Looking back, Smith still appreciates the memorable moment, despite his pain.
“It’s football, man,” Smith said this week. “I can’t control that. It’s just an unfortunate part of the game I had to go through, but it was a hell of a play. If it was to happen, I would want it to happen on a play like that.”
On the play, Smith lined up on the left side of the line. He made a critical block to spring Henry – he actually shielded two Jaguars as Henry busted through the hole. But Smith got pushed back into a pile of players. Smith's knee went, as Henry went by him.
He remembers hearing the roar of the crowd.
And what Titans coach Mike Vrabel said to him on the field.
“I didn’t know that we scored until coach came over and said, ‘We just took it to the house – 99 yards,” Smith said with a smile. “And I was like, ‘Dang.’ So that was some light in the situation I was dealing with at the time.
“It was a bittersweet moment. When I watch the play now, I don’t pay attention to myself. I pay attention to the guys and their effort on the play, and of course Derrick. When I look at that play, I don’t look at me.”
On Thursday night, Smith will line up against the Jaguars again.
Earlier this offseason, Vrabel praised Smith for his approach in rehab, and his work ethic. Smith has played in each of the team's first two games.
“As soon as I went down and I knew what I would be faced with, my mindset was to do everything I could to get back as heathy as possible, as soon as possible,” Smith said. “I am here now and focused on getting this win this week.”
Titans running back Derrick Henry carries 17 times for a franchise-record 238 yards and four touchdowns in Tennessee's 30-9 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football in 2018.