Ryan Tannehill and Taylor Lewan were among a handful of Titans veteran players who admitted just how difficult it was for them to move past Tennessee’s 19-16 divisional round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 22.
Count running back Derrick Henry among those players, but for different reasons. Henry was not only dealing with the sting of that defeat, but he was also entering the first offseason of his career where he was dealing with a significant injury.
Resting his surgically repaired foot was a necessary evil for the star running back, who’s never been afraid to a post a workout video to social media. But nearly five months after Tennessee’s season came to a disappointing end, Henry stated his recovery has been going swimmingly.
“I feel good,” Henry said Tuesday. “Running hills, doing restricted running and being on the field and catching the ball. Doing all those types of things to make sure I’m ready.
“…With a bone, you’ve got to let it heal. It takes time and things like that.”
Although he played in that late January game against the Bengals at Nissan Stadium, it was clear that Henry wasn’t the same as he was pre-injury. His movement wasn’t as fluid, his speed was lacking, and overall, he just didn’t seem to be 100 percent.
He tallied just 62 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
But Henry’s had nearly five months of rest, recovery, and training, which he stated helped get his body to a much better place than it was the last time he took the field.
“I’ve had time away; I’ve been training like crazy, doing everything I can to get my body right and just been working. Through [the injury], I was off for like nine or 10 weeks, was coming back and I felt good, but I didn’t play well enough. There’s no excuse; I’ve got to be better and should have been better, but I feel good now.”
Henry, who suffered a broken foot against the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 31, has not been in attendance at Saint Thomas Sports Park for voluntary minicamp or OTAs.
Instead, the 28-year-old tailback opted to continue training on his own away from the team facility — a ritual he said came about during the early days of the COVID pandemic.
“In 2020 whenever COVID hit, we had to train by ourselves, and I really enjoyed that,” Henry said. “I got to go work out when I wanted to whether it was twice a day, or three times a day, or twice a day and then go to the field. Last year, I did the same thing, so I just felt if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and continue to do those things. I’d communicate with the coaches, and they knew what was going on.”
The Titans, of course, are banking on Henry’s legendary offseason workout program helping him find his pre-injury form.
The former Heisman winner was on track for another career year last season, averaging 117.1 yards per game with 10 touchdowns through eight games before breaking his foot against the Colts. Despite missing the final 10 games of the season, Henry still finished ninth in the league in rushing with 937 yards.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_