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In 2016, Derrick Henry had to make a decision. The running back drafted out of Alabama had been wearing No. 2 during rookie camp with the Tennessee Titans. Per NFL rules, he had to wear a number between 20-49 when the regular season began. Henry chose No. 22 for a very touching reason.

Derrick Henry has become one of the NFL’s best running backs

Derrick Henry is the workhorse of the Tennessee Titans’ offense. He quickly became one of the NFL’s best running backs with his rare blend of power and speed, earning the 2020 Offensive Player of the Year award along the way.

In the 2021 NFL season, the Florida native led the league in rushing, rushing attempts, and touchdowns. Henry set the record for most rushing yards in a game (250) against the Houston Texans. He also surpassed the 2,000-yard mark, finishing the season with 2,027 yards.

For the 2022 season, Henry became a three-time Pro Bowler. His team finished 2nd in the South with a 7-10 record.

The somber reason Henry wears No. 22

As a rookie, Derrick Henry wore No. 2 during camp but had to switch to a number between 20-49 per NFL rules. Henry made the switch to No. 22. He chose the number to honor a college teammate who was killed in a car accident on Oct. 20, 2015. Henry paid tribute to his friend Altee Tenpenny, his backfield mate at Alabama.

“I’m glad I was able to get the number than I wanted to get — this is for my friend, Altee Tenpenny, who I played with at Bama,” Henry told ESPN in 2016. “He wore it in high school. So I’m very, very excited about that. He was a good friend of mine, basically like a best friend, somebody that I knew since high school, going to camps where we were competing against each other then we both went to Bama together. He transferred out of Bama, and he died in a car crash last year.”

Henry, who was coming off a Heisman Trophy-winning season, said No. 22 was his first choice. “I try to remember his name and honor his name the best way I can,” he said. No. 22 has clearly been very good to Henry and the Titans.


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