Derrick Henry has emerged as one of the best running backs in the NFL. Henry has helped the Tennessee Titans start the 2020 season off strong as they are 5-0. The Titans know that they can turn to Henry when they need to establish a run game, and he’ll get it done.
Henry has had a lot of success throughout his football career, ever since he was a kid. During his childhood, he developed a close relationship with his grandmother.
Derrick Henry has become one of the top offensive players in the NFL
The Titans selected Henry in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft. Henry had an impressive college career at the University of Alabama, and he was ready to start his NFL career. In his first few seasons with the Titans, Henry was the backup running back to DeMarco Murray. During the 2016 and 2017 season, Henry rushed for a total of 1,234 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2018, Henry saw more playing time. He started in 12 of the 16 games that season and finished rushing for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Henry had a breakout season in 2019. He set career-highs in multiple categories, including rushing yards, attempts, and touchdowns. The talented running back finished with 1,540 yards, which led the league. He also had 303 attempts and 16 touchdowns, which both led the league as well. Henry took advantage of his time on the field and became an immediate threat on the ground.
The Titans had an impressive playoff run during the 2019 season, and Henry played a big part. In the AFC Wild Card game against the defending Super Bowl champions, New England Patriots, Henry stepped up in a big way. He finished the game with 182 yards as the Titans defeated the Patriots 20-13. Henry had another big performance in the Divisional Round against the Baltimore Ravens. He finished that game with 195 yards, and he threw a three-yard touchdown pass as well.
The Titans lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, and Henry was held in check that game as he only rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown. Throughout his career, Henry has made the Pro Bowl and has been selected to the All-Pro team.
A look at Derrick Henry’s close relationship with his grandmother
Growing up, Henry faced a lot of adversity. In an ESPN article, he talked about how his grandmother was an important figure during his childhood. “We had a special relationship,” Henry said. “I couldn’t do anything without her, and she couldn’t do anything without me.” When his grandfather died in 2000, Henry’s grandmother stepped up in a big way to make things work for the family.
“She had to continue to work and provide for us as a family,” Henry said. “Watching her get up when she didn’t want to, she worked at the Holiday Inn cleaning the hotels, so we had food on our table, clothes on our back, and a roof over our head. That’s what I will always remember. It’s what she instilled in me. Always work hard. Always keep God first. Prayer is powerful. That’s what I believe in, and it’s what I will one day teach my kids.”
Derrick Henry wrote a heartfelt letter to his grandmother
In 2016, Henry’s grandmother passed away, and he decided to wear special cleats to honor her during a game. Two years later, Henry wrote a letter to his grandmother after graduating with his degree from Alabama. His entry was published in The Players’ Tribune and was titled I Did It, Grandma. In the letter, Henry talked about how his grandmother emphasized the importance of getting an education, and that’s what he did.
There’s no question that Henry wanted his grandmother to be there when he received his degree. His grandmother took care of him and the entire family when he was growing up, and he looked up to her in a big way. Now, Henry is off to a hot start toward the 2020 season, where the Titans are 5-0. Through five games, Henry leads the league in rushing yards with 588 and attempts with 123. He’ll always keep his grandmother in his heart because she helped him become the man he is today.