Derrick Henry acknowledged for the first time Sunday that his time as a member of the Tennessee Titans could come to an end after the season.
“Yeah, definitely today you had that feeling (that it could be the end),” the star running back said, according to ESPN’s Turron Davenport. “I had hope of kind of slipping in (the playoffs), and then being eliminated with three games left. I’ve been here my whole career. Definitely wanted to go out strong, which that isn’t the case.”
The Titans pulled off a thrilling comeback victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 14 to keep their season alive. However, a 19-16 overtime defeat to the Houston Texans in Week 15 officially eliminated Henry and Co. from the playoff race.
Henry is coming off arguably his worst performance with Tennessee, carrying the ball 16 times for only 9 yards versus Houston. The 29-year-old also caught four passes for 1 yard, becoming the first player in NFL history to have 20-plus touches in a game and produce less than 15 scrimmage yards, according to DLF’s Ryan McDowell.
“We weren’t great today as a whole,” Henry said, per Davenport. “They were the better team today. The credit goes to them. It seemed like they had an answer for everything.”
Henry’s contract expires at the end of the season. The Titans used a Day 2 pick in this year’s draft on a running back, selecting Tyjae Spears in the third round. Spears has racked up 82 carries for 388 yards and one touchdown on the ground to go along with 288 yards on 40 receptions this year.
Meanwhile, Henry entered Week 15 with 875 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing in 2023. His 4.1 yards per attempt is the lowest Henry has averaged in a campaign since entering the NFL as a second-round pick in 2016.
Henry led the NFL in carries, rushing yards, and TD runs in 2019 and 2020. The Alabama product posted one of the greatest seasons ever at running back and became the eighth player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single campaign in 2020. He was named Offensive Player of the Year that season.
Tennessee’s all-time rushing touchdown leader, Henry also had a league-high 349 rushing attempts in 2022.
The 5-9 Titans are also expected to part ways with veteran Ryan Tannehill at the end of the season and move forward with Will Levis at quarterback.