Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/Editor, TitansOnline.com
Titans running back Derrick Henry said he learned a lot during his rookie season in the NFL. He said he’s trained hard this offseason, and is ready for Year 2 in the league.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This time last year, running back Derrick Henry was just settling into his new team, in Tennessee.
He’d been through a whirlwind year that included a Heisman Trophy honor, training for the NFL Combine, pre-draft visits and finally the NFL Draft, when the Titans selected him.
He’s spent this offseason focused on training, and improving.
“I’ve just worked hard,’’ Henry said on Tuesday. “I worked out Monday through Sunday, just making sure my body was in shape, running, making sure I was prepared when I got back. I focused on me getting better. Whatever I struggled at last year, I want to get better at that, and be a better player. I want to be better, that is the main goal, the main focus.”
Henry created some sports talk radio chatter when he was absent the first two weeks of the team’s voluntary offseason program.
Henry was back on campus at the University of Alabama, and head coach Mike Mularkey said earlier this offseason he didn’t have problem with it, aside from a lack of communication. Henry acknowledged on Tuesday he could have handled things better. Henry was taking classes in Tuscaloosa, and he’s closer to earning his degree, something he promised his family, including his late grandmother, he’d do.
The hulking back said he’s also put on more muscle following a rookie season when he rushed for 490 yards on 110 carries for the Titans, with five touchdowns. Henry also caught 13 passes for 137 yards while playing behind starting running back DeMarco Murray.
Henry said he’s better off from a mental and physical standpoint this offseason. He’s focused on improving as a pass blocker, and catching the football, among other things.
“I’ve had more focus, not a lot of distractions,” Henry said of this offseason. “The draft process (last year), going here and going there. … I was at school (this year) working out Monday through Sunday and making sure I am better.”
Henry has taken part in all eight organized team activities, and has looked good.
Coaches have praised him, in fact.
“I think he has looked great,’’ Mularkey said of Henry. “It is evident he has worked extremely hard. I saw a lot of videos of him working out at Alabama. I think he has looked very well, really good for this time of year.”
Titans running backs coach Sylvester Croom said Henry impressed him the day he showed up for the offseason program.
“He looks great, is moving well and seems to be in very good shape for this time of the year,” Croom said of Henry. “It’s obvious he’s been doing a whole lot of work in the time he’s been away.”
The Titans have two more OTAs this week, followed by a three-day minicamp next week.
The team begins training camp at the end of next month.
Henry said he’s ready to tackle year two in the NFL.
“I feel like year one you are experiencing and learning,’’ Henry said. “And in year two it is time to attack. You know everything, you went through the process and now it is time to go. Put your foot on the pedal and don’t let up.”