Although Derrick Henry’s 2,000-yard season didn’t earn him any votes in the Associated Press’ NFL Most Valuable Award voting, the 26-year-old running back did win the NFL Offensive Player of the Year and the FedEx Ground Player of the Year awards.
Henry had 32 of the 50 votes, becoming the sixth running back in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards and win the Offensive Player of the Year award. O.J. Simpson was the only 2,000-yard back to win the NFL MVP.
“Two thousand yards is always on a running back’s mind, especially in the league because it is so unique,” Henry told the Associated Press. “…Always put the team goals first, then individual goals come second. But I knew we take a lot of pride in the running game and have had success, and then anything is possible with the group I am with, (so) we could accomplish it.”
As a result of his win, FedEx will donate $20,000 to Direct Relief in Henry's name. The donations will help deliver emergency medical backpacks to local community clinics and health centers located in the U.S.
Henry led the NFL in rushing for the second straight year — the first to do so since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006-07 — and averaged 126.7 yards per game and a league-high 17 rushing touchdowns. Several current and former NFL players took to social media to congratulate him as well as his teammates.
“The GOAT,” Titans Pro Bowl tackle Taylor Lewan tweeted.
“So happy for @KingHenry_2,” Hall of Fame running back and fellow 2,000-yard rusher Barry Sanders tweeted. “Had the chance to spend time with him at the @HeismanTrophy ad shoots. Great guy and great player. Excited (for) him to run the rock in 2021.”
Added former All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson: “Well deserved.”
A first-team AP All-Pro selection, Henry also was named the Offensive Player of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America and the 2020 AFC Offensive Player of the Year at the annual NFL 101 awards.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_