Hunter Henry 'Sad' Philip Rivers Left Chargers; Excited About 'Mobile' QB

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2020

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 02:  Philip Rivers #17 and  Hunter Henry #86 of the San Diego Chargers celebrate in the end zone after a touchdown in the first half against the New Orleans Saints  at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Hunter Henry has never caught an NFL pass from anyone besides Philip Rivers, but that will change in 2020 after the Los Angeles Chargers let their veteran quarterback leave in free agency.

"It was sad, definitely, to see him run off for that last time," the tight end said of Rivers, per Jeff Miller of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Rivers had started every game for the Chargers since 2006, but the two sides parted ways this offseason, and the 38-year-old eventually signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts.

Henry, who referred to Rivers as "one of my good friends," became a reliable target for the quarterback in 2019 while setting career highs with 55 catches and 652 receiving yards. However, he must now adjust to a new life with Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert as the top options in the quarterback room.

Though neither player is as established as the eight-time Pro Bowler, there are still positives that could come with the change under center.

"I'm not going to downplay Philip at all," Henry said. "He was unreal and a Hall of Fame quarterback. But, obviously, it opens our offense up a little bit more. You see all these quarterbacks, their escapability in the pocket. ... 

"[There are] so many different things that you can do with a mobile quarterback that can open your offense. [I’m] looking forward to seeing that aspect of our offense grow."

Taylor showcased his mobility as a starter with the Buffalo Bills, totaling 1,575 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 44 games from 2015-17. He also developed a good rapport with tight end Charles Clay, who had over 500 receiving yards each season, something that could help Henry in 2020.

Herbert wasn't as consistent as a runner during his college career at Oregon, but the No. 6 pick of the 2020 NFL draft showcased his athleticism with a 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds at the combine. He can force defenders to account for his legs, potentially creating more openings downfield.

Considering Rivers had just 34 rushing yards in the last three seasons combined, this could be a new age for the Chargers offense.