NASHVILLE – Titans coach Mike Vrabel wasn’t making any promises about Derrick Henry on Monday, on if he’ll play in the preseason or how quickly he can get up to speed.
But he was once against answering questions about his running back, this time because there was a positive development – Henry returned to the practice field on Monday for the first time since leaving Day 1 of training camp with a lower leg injury.
“It was really good (to get him back),” Vrabel said of Henry. “It’s really good to get everybody back that we can, when we can get them back. We’ll see how (Derrick) is and hopefully start to progress a little bit tomorrow.”
The Titans play the Pittsburgh Steelers in preseason game No.3 on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
Will Henry play?
“Again, I am not going to hope and wish,” Vrabel said. “If he is better by Sunday and he is ready to play, then we’ll play him. And if not, then we’ll keep working in getting him back.”
Henry was on the field for individual drills with the other running backs at the start of practice, catching passes and going through drills with his teammates. Back on July 26, Henry left practice early and he’s spent the past three weeks rehabbing, working on a side field.
Last week, Henry made cuts with a football in his hands, and he caught some passes thrown by General Manager Jon Robinson. He's done some work in a sandpit adjacent to one of the practice fields. He hasn't been in uniform for the team's first two preseason contests.
On Sunday, Vrabel was asked how much the preseason might help Henry, who ran for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Henry ran for 89 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries in the preseason a year ago.
The Titans open the regular season on September 8 at Cleveland.
“We take all of these situations pretty much individually and we’ll continue to monitor him and see where he’s at,” Vrabel said of Henry. “The whole goal is to make sure Derrick is going to be with us, and he is going to be a large part of what we do.”
“He’ll have to start the year the way he finished it last year,” Vrabel added, “and whether that means playing in the preseason or not I’m not really sure. … Some guys play in the preseason and some guys don’t. It all just kind of depends on what each guy needs.”
The Tennessee Titans practice on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Donald Page)