Titans RB Derrick Henry Ready to Roll in New Number


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When it came time to select a new number, Titans rookie running back Derrick Henry went with his heart, and picked No. 22.

Henry wants to wear it well, starting with the regular season opener on Sunday against the Vikings.

"I am really excited for my first NFL game,'' Henry said. "I am going to be anxious. We know it's crunch time. It's time to do what we prepared for all training camp, and just go out there and work hard and make sure we're ready Sunday."

Henry, last year's Heisman Trophy winner, was impressive during the preseason. In four preseason games, he carried the ball 34 times for 216 yards — the second-highest total in the NFL. He averaged 6.4 yards per opportunity.

His three rushing touchdowns were tied for first among all NFL running backs.

"I like how he is making people miss, his feet,'' coach Mike Mularkey said of Henry. "He's done some jump cuts. We have created in the scheme a lot to get to the unblocked defender and we've seen him make those guys miss. That's his guy, that's the back's guy, and he's made them miss."

Get this: Henry wasn't satisfied with his performance.

"I could have played better," Henry said Monday. "But it was a good start. I feel like it was a good start for the whole team, not just for me. It starts up front with the guys that block.

"There's a lot of things I feel like I could have done better. When you play the game and watch the film, you feel like you can make some corrections on things. But I'll just let that momentum carry over into the regular season."

After wearing No. 2 throughout the preseason, Henry switched to No.22 over the weekend after the Titans released running back Dexter McCluster.

Henry said he did it to honor Altee Tenpenny, the high school jersey number of a close friend and former Alabama running back who died in a car crash in October. Tenpenny began his college career at Alabama, but he later transferred to UNLV and Nicholls State.

"I'm so happy I got the number I always wanted,'' Henry said. "I've been knowing Altee since high school, competing against him in camps, and we both went to the same university together. We were always good friends.

"Before (he transferred) we always talked during practice and I asked him: 'If you ever make it to the NFL, what number would you wear?' And he said he'd go back to his school, No.22. So I want to make sure that dream goes on for him."

A photographic look at the 2016 Tennessee Titans as of Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

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