Acting as the primary backup to DeMarco Murray as a rookie last season, Derrick Henry put up a rather solid performance for the Tennessee Titans. He averaged 4.5 yards per rush and scored five touchdowns on 123 touches.
A second-round pick back in 2016, most figured that Henry would ultimately become the Titans’ lead running back. And while that might be the case a bit further down the road, Murray’s performance last season leads us to believe it won’t happen over the short term. After all, Murray put up nearly 1,700 total yards and 12 touchdowns in his first season with the team.
Now that the Titans have started their off-season program with voluntary workouts this week, Henry himself is a no-show. Instead, the former Crimson Tide standout is attending classes at Alabama in an attempt to earn his degree.
In talking about this, Titans head coach Mike Mularkey seemed to indicate that he wasn’t too concerned about reaching out to Henry, who isn’t required to be in attendance.
“I didn’t reach out to Derrick,” Mularkey said, via The Tennessean. “All the players know our schedule, know what we’re doing daily, and I didn’t feel like I needed to follow up. He’s been informed, as everybody has.”
Those seem to be some rather interesting remarks from Mularkey. Then again, the head coach isn’t going to hover over his players during the offseason. As he indicated, they know what the schedule is.
In talking about why Henry is missing these voluntary workouts, Mularkey did seem to show support for the running back’s education.
“He (Henry) doesn’t have to (report for voluntary workouts). None of them have to,” Mularkey continued. “Again, we’ve got a good group going on, working right now. From what I understand, he’s in school, and I don’t think there’s anything negative about that.”
This is definitely something to keep an eye on as the 2017 season approaches. Surely, there’s nothing bad about Henry attending classes. But there could also be a lot more to this story than meets the eye. Henry was considered one of the top running backs in the 2016 NFL Draft class. He proved to be NFL-caliber starter as a rookie.
There’s definitely a scenario in play here that suggests he’s not happy with his role on the team.