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Derrick Henry’s Legacy

Derrick Henry’s Legacy

Beyond stats, Henry’s impact on the Nashville community will resonate for decades to come

Whether you are a Tennessean by birth or a transplant like myself, you probably have become well aware of the steep sports tradition this state has. Whether at the amateur level, Olympic level, semi-pro, or top-tier professional leagues, Tennessee has few peers over a wide-ranging number of sports.

As a result, here at The Pamphleteer we are going to take a deeper dive into these individuals once a month to recognize the greatness of the men and women who have had, or will have, a lasting impact on the Tennessee sports world.

NFL franchises had until this past Monday to extend four-year contracts for their top pending free agents before they would officially hit the free agency market on March 13th. That day came and passed with the Titans re-signing exactly zero of their soon-to-be free agents, including all-pro running back Derrick Henry. Most already saw it coming; Nashville will soberly wave goodbye to the king.

Although Derrick Henry’s eight seasons with the Titans appears to be closing, his impact on this city will endure for years. Along with Earl Campbell, Eddie George, and Chris Johnson, Henry will have his rightful place among Titans/Oilers RB greats. Clocking 9,502 rushing yards from scrimmage will leave him second all-time in franchise history, after surpassing Campbell last season in a home win against the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Much more than just a football player, Henry has also gained respect within the community. In an era where concussions deter many parents from allowing their sons to partake in the violent sport, Henry has been at the forefront of promoting player safety and Heads Up Football. Running backs tend to have a short shelf life in the NFL, so he understands parental concerns and has been an example for others to follow so the sport can live on as America’s favorite.

Since departing the University of Alabama in 2016 and arriving in Music City, monstrous stiff arms accompanied by impossibly long runs characterized his reign in the backfield. Some believe his next stop will either be in Baltimore or Dallas, but once retirement comes calling, we hope he follows in the footsteps of Eddie George and returns to the Nashville community.

Henry has left his own unique stamp on this city and we can only hope he, too, returns in his own capacity. No matter what way you mark it up, Nashville is better with King Henry in it.

Thank you for everything, #22!