The New England Patriots‘ Hunter Henry has battled serious injury during his career. He sustained his first one as a Patriot this week, and many around the team held their collective breath as the prized free-agent signing went down this past week at OTAs.
Here is the latest info.
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe: “Hunter Henry injured his left ankle midway through practice and watched the remainder of the workout from the sideline. He got tangled up with a defender in a team period, remained on the ground for a moment, limped to the sideline and got his ankle taped. He later hopped up and down on his left foot and didn’t appear overly uncomfortable, which should be a good sign. Keeping him out was likely the cautious approach.”
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed Henry’s injury wasn’t serious in a retweet of colleague Michael Giardi’s post.
It was scary watching the 26-year-old get up slowly after suffering the injury. Henry signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the Patriots this offseason, and he figures to factor heavily into what the offense does on the ground and through the air.
Henry Had a Horrible OTA Injury While With the Chargers
In 2018, Henry suffered a torn ACL during OTAs while a member of the San Diego Chargers. The injury came without contact, and Henry missed the entire season that year.
He returned to miss just four games in 2019, and he was more durable in 2020 playing in 14 contests. The Patriots are hopeful Henry’s days of serious injuries are behind him. Prior to the ACL injury, Henry had only missed three games during his first two seasons in the NFL.
Henry is Looking Forward to Adding to the Patriots’ Tight End Legacy
The Patriots have built arguably the best tight end rotation in the NFL. In addition to Henry, New England also signed the versatile Jonnu Smith. Henry and Smith join second-year players Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene.
Asiasi is very athletic and still has some solid upside. However, he will be in for quite the fight to make the roster. Veteran Matt LaCosse has looked strong in OTAs after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 precautions. It is unknown how many tight ends the Patriots plan to keep on the roster this season, four seems likely, and five feels like the max.
In any case, the group promises to be more talented than it was in 2020. The current group of tight ends is more in line with what we’ve come to expect from the position in New England.
Henry told reporters about his experience watching Rob Gronkowski with the Patriots, and his desire to learn the Patriots’ system.
“Anytime you’re learning something new you just have to immerse yourself in it so I’ve watched a lot of film,” said Henry. “I’ve watched a lot of Gronk in the past two months. Obviously one of the best tight ends to play the game… It’s an honor to be in the same tight end room and try to continue that legacy of tight ends here.”
If Henry stays healthy, blocks well and produces 50-55 receptions for 450-500 yards and three or more touchdowns, Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, Cam Newton and everyone else invested in the team’s offense will be thrilled.
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