A Sad End To the Troubling Life of Chris Henry
On April 23, 2005 the Cincinnati Bengals selected wide receiver Chris Henry from West Virginia in the third round with the 83rd overall pick.
In college, Henry had a very good career. He earned Big East freshman of the year and All-Big East second team in 2003. In his career at West Virginia, Henry had 93 receptions, 1,878 yards, and 22 TDs in just two years.
When he left West Virginia, many teams avoided Henry because of his character issues and run-ins with the law. His head coach Rich Rodriguez said Henry was an embarrassment to himself and the program.
Even with these character issues, the Bengals took a chance on Henry.
In his rookie season on the field, Henry had 31 receptions for 422 yards and six touchdowns. These stats were impressive for a rookie season.
Off the field though, Henry wasn't impressing anyone.
On Dec. 15th, 2005, Henry was pulled over in Kentucky for speeding. During a search, police found marijuana in his shoes. He also didn't have a valid driver's license or insurance. He pleaded guilty and avoided jail time.
One month after this incident, Henry was arrested in Orlando on multiple gun charges including concealment and aggravated assault with a firearm. He once again pleaded guilty and avoided jail time.
On April 29th, 2006, Henry allowed three underage females to drink alcohol at a hotel in Kentucky. Henry once again pleaded guilty, but this time was headed to jail.
On June 3rd in Ohio, he was driving drunk with a blood-alcholol level of .092, which was .012 over the limit in the state.
On October 6th, the NFL suspended Henry for two games for personal conduct and substance abuse policies.
It was obvious to everyone that he wasn't headed in the right direction.
In his second season in the NFL, Henry had another good year. He totaled 36 receptions for 605 yards and nine touchdowns. The young receiver was showing promise, if he could stay out of trouble.
Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.
Chris Henry was suspended for the first eight games of the 2007 season for again violating the league's personal conduct policy. With this suspension came a warning from Commissioner Roger Goodell that future misconduct may lead to an end to his career with the NFL.
The Bengals and everyone else in the league was fed up with Henry's actions.
On March 31, 2008, Henry allegedly punched a man named Gregory Meyer and threw a beer bottle through the window of his car. Henry claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.
This was the last straw for the Bengals, and Henry was waived by the Bengals the next day.
After this release, many believed the bright future of this young receiver would be done. People called him stupid for blowing his chance in the NFL and grouped him with Pacman Jones as players who shouldn't be allowed back.
Henry was allowed back in the NFL though, and he was signed by his old team on Aug. 18th, 2008.
He received a second chance and was determined not to blow it as he had almost done once already.
Before the 2009 season, Henry got a new tattoo that matched his new outlook. Below his left ear, in flowing one-inch script, was the word "Blessed."
Henry was truly blessed to have this new chance.
And then last night it was all taken from him.
While it is unclear exactly what happened, we know he fell out of the back of his wife's truck and suffered severe head injuries.
In sports, we all love comeback stories. Whether a player comes back from injury, drugs, jail, or any other bad situations we love to hear their stories.
Henry could have been the next comeback story. The whole nation comes together for one moment when they hear a great story like this one.
Many teammates and Bengals staff said Henry was headed in the right direction.
This would have been a great story, but unfortunately this story's ending is unclear at the moment. Pages have been ripped out of the story of Chris Henry's life.
We will never know how the Chris Henry story could have ended, but we know he was headed in the right direction.
"Just at the time he was running to daylight, his life was snuffed out.''
-Bengals president Mike Brown
Chris Henry: May 17, 1983-December 17th, 2009
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