NASHVILLE – On NFL Sundays, the sight of Titans running back Derrick Henry running the football right at them came as no surprise to defenders.
Henry getting the job done even when the defense knows what's coming makes his success even more impressive.
On Thursday morning, Henry provided a genuine surprise to roughly 10 healthcare workers in the Nashville area when he hopped on a virtual call to thank them for their continued efforts to help those in need in the community. It was done as a part of FedEx's partnership with Direct Relief.
"I got to spend some time with some of the healthcare workers, neighborhood heroes, and being able to do that on behalf of FedEx (is great)," Henry said on Thursday. "To get to talk with some of the healthcare workers who spend countless hours, getting out in the community to be able to help the homeless and anybody in need with their healthcare in the community and throughout Nashville. … They were able to ask me questions about football, about life and about my journey, and then I asked them a question: Do they ever get a break?
"It was a great opportunity to talk to them and get to spend time with them. … A lot of them are Titans fans and Alabama fans, so the conversation was very easy. We had a good time spending time together when we talked."
Henry has won multiple awards this offseason after leading the NFL and setting a franchise record with 2,027 rushing yards in 2020, becoming the eighth player in league annals to rush for at least 2,000 yards in a season.
Henry is one of three finalists for the 2020 FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year award.
Through the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Awards, FedEx has been working with Direct Relief this NFL season to deliver emergency medical backpacks to local community clinics and health centers across the country.
FedEx will make a $20,000 donation to Direct Relief in the name of both the winning quarterback and running back, totaling $40,000. The donations will help deliver emergency medical backpacks to local community clinics and health centers located throughout the U.S.
Henry held up one of the backpacks during a Zoom interview on Thursday.
"When I won (the FedEx Ground weekly award) five times this year, they were able to deliver these backpacks to clinics in the community, to help with the medical (supplies) necessary in this backpack," Henry said. "It definitely helped out a lot, and I was very thankful and happy the backpacks, and be winning the award those weeks, was able to help them out. So that was pretty cool.
"The coolest part is visiting with the people in the communities each and every day. FedEx also gives me an opportunity to talk and spend time with the healthcare workers, and them giving donations out -- $20,000 for the Ground and Air players, the running back and quarterback, to Direct Relief, that is helping us distribute these medical backpacks. It's a great thing FedEx is doing, and I am happy to be a part of it, and hopefully be able to take home that (year-end Fed Ground trophy, too)."
In addition to Henry, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and Saints running back Alvin Kamara are the other two finalists for the FedEx Ground award.
Leading up to Super Bowl LV, fans have the chance to cast their vote for Henry for the award. From now until February 2 at 2 p.m. CST fans can cast their vote for each category at nfl.com/fedex or via a Twitter poll on the @NFL official handle.
Henry became the first player in NFL history to record three games with at least 200 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a single season. Henry, who led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards and was named the FedEx Ground Player of the Year in 2019, is the first player since Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (2006-07) to lead the league in rushing yards in consecutive seasons.
For 18 years, FedEx has recognized the NFL quarterbacks and running backs delivering the best performances for their fans and teammates each season.
Quarterbacks Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills), Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) and Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) are the finalists for the 2020 FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year honors.
Throughout the 2020 season, FedEx made weekly $2,000 donations to Direct Relief in the names of the weekly winning players to help support local community clinics and health centers in local NFL communities.
Henry won the weekly award five times during the season (Weeks 6, 11, 12, 14 and 15).
FedEx will announce the 2020 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year winners at NFL Honors during a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl LV, from 8-10 PM on CBS.
"I couldn't have done any of this without my teammates," Henry said. "If I am able to win, I will definitely give recognition to them and thank them for me being able to have the opportunity."