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Titans RB Derrick Henry's NFL Career Took Off After Team's Last Trip to London


NASHVILLE – London is calling, and Derrick Henry and the Titans are ready to answer.

On Sunday, the Titans will face the Ravens in the United Kingdom.

Back in 2018, following the team's last trip to London, Henry's NFL career changed forever after he made an important phone call to former Titans running back Eddie George.

The conversation took place after the team's loss to the Chargers, which, like this season, preceded the bye week. Henry managed just 33 yards on 12 carries in that game. Through the first seven games of the 2018 season, Henry was averaging just 3.3 yards per carry, and he had just 273 yards and one touchdown on 84 carries.

So, Henry reached out to George to ask him what he needed to do, and how he thought he was playing.

George told Henry he needed to finish runs, and that he needed to be more physical.

George gave Henry a specific example from the team's game in London, which George attended. It was a second quarter play, an off tackle play to the left, when George felt Henry turned contact down against a Chargers defender, despite having a big size advantage. From one big back to the other, George hammered Henry about it.

"(Derrick) asked me flat-out what I thought about his game," George, who ran for 10,009 yards while playing from 1996-2003 with the Titans, said at the time. "And I was very honest. I said, look, it's not about you hitting the home run. We know you can hit the home run. It's what you can do consistently between the tackles, and it comes down to one fundamental thing. It comes down to you imposing your will on defenders. You are too big not to use that as your strength. You have to force guys to tackle you. Make one cut and go.

"I said to him: You now have to run as if your career depends on it, because it does."

Henry exploded after that – he averaged 6.5 yards per carry while racking up 609 yards and nine touchdowns on 94 carries in the seven games following the bye in 2018, and he finished that season with 1,059 yards.

Since 2018, Henry has 1,550 carries for 7,879 rushing yards and 70 touchdowns – the most in the NFL.

On Thursday, before the team headed to London, Henry reflected back on that conversation, that point of his career, and how it changed his NFL fortunes.

"I haven't really thought about that much," Henry said. "But thankful that everything happened the way it did. I guess it's a moment to look back on growth, and where I was at, compared to where I am at now."

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