Derrick Henry Activated for Titans vs. Bengals After Injury Recovery

Timothy RappFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 21, 2022

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs against the Indianapolis Colts in the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Tennessee Titans superstar running back Derrick Henry was activated from injured reserve Friday for Saturday's AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Tennessee Titans @Titans

The <a href="https://twitter.com/KingHenry_2?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KingHenry_2</a> Experience is BACK 👑 <a href="https://t.co/1OWT0vNdmT">pic.twitter.com/1OWT0vNdmT</a>

ESPN's Turron Davenport reported earlier on Friday that Henry is expected to start Saturday's game.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also reported that Henry experienced no setbacks in practice:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From <a href="https://twitter.com/gmfb?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GMFB</a>: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Titans?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Titans</a> RB Derrick Henry should be activated off IR today. <a href="https://t.co/E0uxda9kGf">pic.twitter.com/E0uxda9kGf</a>

Henry, 28, has seen much of his 2021 campaign impacted by injury. He was having a superb start to the season, with 937 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns through eight games, but a fractured foot cost him the final nine games of the regular season. 

To put his production in perspective, he still finished the regular season ninth in the NFL in rushing yards despite missing over half of the campaign.

He was expected to make a return for the postseason, however, especially after the Titans secured the top overall seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. 

Henry has become something of a singular force at the running back position. He led the NFL in both rushing yards (2,027) and rushing touchdowns (17) in 2020, becoming the first player since Chris Johnson in 2008 to hit the 2,000-yard mark, and just the eighth player in NFL history to achieve the feat. Eric Dickerson holds the single-season record with 2,105 yards, set in the 1984 season. 

It wasn't a fluke. Henry also rushed for 1,540 and 16 touchdowns in 2019. 

But there were always questions about whether his workload might catch up to him—he combined for 718 touches between the 2019-20 season, an enormous number in the modern NFL, which has largely pivoted to running back committees—and was on pace for 400 carries in the 2021 season before his injury. 

The Titans managed to persevere without Henry for much of the regular season, and now that they are set to get him back, they will have a huge weapon at their disposal against Cincinnati.

It is unclear if Henry will receive his normal workload Saturday, but if head coach Mike Vrabel wants to ease him back in, he has the luxury of also utilizing D'Onta Foreman, who rushed for 566 yards and three touchdowns in nine games during Henry's absence.