Titans’ Henry bulldozes opposing secondaries

Derrick Henry plows down defenders

Derrick Henry

In the mold of a John Riggins, Jim Brown or Marion Motley, Derrick Henry is the type of big back that defensive backs hate to see coming.

Indeed, in their fifth-year running back, the Tennessee Titans have the type of runner whose speed (4.54 seconds in the 40), size (6 feet 3 inches, 247 pounds) and ability to cut on a dime make tackling him in the open field an almost impossible task. Not to mention one that could cause bodily harm.

And let’s not forget about his signature stiff-arm, an old-school tactic that would-be tacklers have come to fear.

That was demonstrated in the Titans’ Week 5 victory over the Buffalo Bills, when Henry’s stiff-arm of Josh Norman sent the cornerback backwards through the air and onto his backside as Henry plowed ahead for a five-yard gain. It also got the attention of commentators, fans and just about every cornerback and safety in the league.

The move has even drawn the admiration of LaDainian Tomlinson, one of the game’s greatest runners, who is now an analyst for NFL Network.

“They don’t want to see him when they’re running downhill and he’s coming at an angle, when he can throw his stiff-arm,” the Pro Football Hall of Famer said. “They’re at his mercy.”

Through 12 games, Henry was leading the league with 1,317 yards and was on pace for his second-straight rushing title. He’s also a big reason why the Titans are vying for first place in the AFC South with a postseason berth assured.

Henry and the Titans can be seen in action Sunday, Dec. 27, when they pay a visit to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers in a game airing on NBC.

Full name: Derrick Lamar Henry Jr.

Birth date: Jan. 4, 1994

Birthplace: Yulee, Fla.

Height/weight: 6 foot 3 inches/247 pounds

Team: Tennessee Titans (2016-present)

Draft: Selected in the second round (45th overall) by the Titans in 2016

Position: Running back

No.: 22

College: Alabama

Honors and achievements: NFL rushing champion (2019); Pro Bowl (2019); Second-Team All-Pro (2019); CFP champion (2015); Heisman Trophy winner (2015); USA Today High School All-American (2012)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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