Former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry has been dominating the National Football League in recent seasons. According to NFL Media’s Cynthia Frelund, the Tennessee Titans star is projected to have a monster comeback in 2022, leading the league in rushing at a projected 1,950 yards.
Because of a Jones Fracture, Henry only played in eight regular season games where the Titans went 6-2 as Henry scored 10 touchdowns and ran for 869 while even throwing for 1 touchdown pass in week seven against the Kansas City Chiefs.
After missing the second half of the 2021 season minus a playoff game in which they fell to the eventual Super Bowl runner-up Cincinnati Bengals by a field goal. If Henry had been able to finish the season out he was on pace to rush for 1,991 yards with 21 touchdowns.
Henry Has Opportunity to Make History
In the three seasons before Henry’s injury in 2021, he rushed for at least 1,000 yards each season, increasing each year. Between the 2018 and 2020 seasons, Henry scored 45 rushing touchdowns with 4,626 rushing yards averaging a little over 5.0 yards per attempt.
In 2020 alone he rushed for 2,027 rushing yards, a feat only beaten by four others in history. Those in front of Henry were: Barry Sanders in 1997, Jamal Lewis in 2003, Adrian Peterson in 2012 and Eric Dickerson in 1984. Although the projection from Frelund fell short of his single-season record by 77 yards, a healthy Henry could realistically surpass it.
If he can hit on Frelund’s mark of 1,950 yards, Henry will move from 71st to 39th in all-time rushing yards replacing former Minnesota Viking, Terry Allen. There are currently only three active backs ahead of him, former Alabama back Mark Ingram, Ezekiel Elliot, and Adrian Peterson who has been contemplating retirement recently.
Rehab & Recovery for Daunting Injury
Jones fractures are not only prominent in the NFL, but in most sports. In October 2014, Oklahoma City Thunder forward, Kevin Durant suffered this fracture in the preseason and did not play until December. Although it took time for his injury to completely heal, he came back as good as ever and has had a successful career since.
More recently, Deebo Samuel who had a breakout season in 2021 and helped lead the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship suffered the same injury a year prior. With the proper training, rehab, and conditioning any player can return to full health and perform better than before.
“I’ve been doing a lot of footwork, making sure I can find my toes, working out, and all kinds of different stuff,” Henry stated when asked about his rehab during a press conference posted to Twitter by Jill Jelnick, a Fox Nashville host. “I feel good, being on the field especially and making sure I’m doing all the things to make sure I’m ready.”
Motivation has always been a strong suit for Henry as he’s never shied away from a challenge and is known to be a consistent weight room warrior. The Titans in 2022 will once again shoot for the stars in hopes with a healthy roster they can win it all.
First, they will have to win the AFC South division, which shouldn’t be as hard as the latter task: Knocking the Chiefs, Bengals, Bills, or another rising squad out of their way in pursuit of the Lombardi Trophy.