The Journal Gazette
Thursday, January 20, 2022 1:00 am

NFL Divisional Playoffs

Tennessee star Henry says he's ready to go

TERESA M. WALKER | Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Derrick Henry, the man who literally ran the Tennessee Titans to the AFC championship game two years ago, is ready to play again.

The 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year says his surgically repaired right foot, fixed with a steel plate, feels no different than his left, and he's happy to be back on a football field.

Just in time for Saturday's divisional playoff game against Cincinnati.

As long as the Titans make the final step, moving Henry from injured reserve to the active roster by Friday afternoon. Henry talking to reporters Wednesday for the first time since breaking his foot Oct. 31 sure seems a strong indicator he will be back in time for kickoff.

So will he play Saturday?

“See how this week goes, and we'll see where I'm at on Saturday,” Henry said.

This was the first time Henry had ever dealt with an injury during a football season. The injury cost him the final nine games of the season. The NFL's 2019 and 2020 rushing leader led the league again when he was injured, and Henry still finished ninth with 937 yards.

“Injuries happen,” Henry said. “And you just got to keep pushing forward and everything happens for a reason. You know, I don't try to get into all the what ifs and this and that that and this, just on focus on the right now and appreciate the journey. And that's all I can do.”

The Titans' 6-foot-3, 247-pound running back will be monitored when he does return, a big difference for someone used to a heavy workload. He had 303 carries in the 2019 regular season with 83 more in three playoff games, and he followed with 378 rushes in 2020.

The Titans practiced in shoulder pads Tuesday, and linebacker Jayon Brown and defensive lineman Larrell Murchison came over during one individual drill to give Henry a couple of defenders to run through.

“Definitely felt good,” Henry said.

 Henry has averaged 111.7 yards over six playoff games for his career. Henry is the man who turned in 2,027 yards rushing in 2020, the fifth-highest total in NFL history. He also ran for a team-high 10 touchdowns in just eight games.

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