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Patriots Rumors: Hunter Henry to Miss 'a Couple of Weeks' with Shoulder Injury

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 10, 2021

New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry runs with the ball during an NFL football practice, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
AP Photo/Steven Senne

New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry is reportedly expected to miss some time with a shoulder injury.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, a source said the injury is "not serious" and should only keep Henry out for "a couple of weeks."

If that timeline holds true, it means Henry should be healthy in time for the Patriots' regular-season opener against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 12.

After spending the first five seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Chargers, Henry signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the Pats in free agency this offseason.

New England has gotten almost no production out of the tight end position the past two seasons following Rob Gronkowski's one-year retirement and subsequent trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In an effort to combat that, the Patriots signed not only Henry, but also former Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith, giving head coach Bill Belichick a formidable one-two punch at the position.

The 26-year-old Henry is coming off back-to-back 600-yard receiving seasons with the Bolts. Last season, he set a career high with 60 receptions, and also finished with 613 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games.

While Henry is a big-time threat in the passing game when healthy, injuries have been a major issue for him throughout his NFL career.

The second-round pick out of Arkansas has never appeared in all 16 games in a season, and he missed the entire 2018 campaign with a torn ACL.

While the 6'5", 250-pound Henry's durability issues are already coming into play early in his tenure with the Patriots, the timetable provided by Schefter is promising in terms of him being ready to play when the games actually count.

If the Patriots are going to bounce back from last season's 7-9 record and get back to contending in the AFC, tight end play figures to be a big part of it in 2021.

New England's wide receiving corps is lacking with Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and N'Keal Harry leading the way, plus quarterback Cam Newton struggled mightily last season getting the ball to his wideouts.

Whether Newton or rookie Mac Jones wins the starting quarterback job, either of them should benefit from having safety blankets underneath in the form of Henry and Smith.

Until Henry is able to return, Smith will be the unquestioned No. 1 tight end with Devin Asiasi, Troy Fumagalli and Matt LaCosse settling in behind him.