Derrick Henry missing from first day of Tennessee Titans’ offseason program

Derrick Henry missing from first day of Tennessee Titans’ offseason program

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey had to answer questions about running back Derrick Henry at his press conference on Monday, the first day of the NFL team’s offseason program. But they weren’t the ones he usually gets about how much work Alabama’s 2015 Heisman Trophy winner will get as DeMarco Murray’s backup.

Instead, Mularkey was asked about why Henry wasn’t present on opening day. Henry and cornerback Bennett Okotcha were the only two Tennessee players who did not attend on Monday.

Mularkey said he didn’t know Henry wouldn’t be there, but he also isn’t concerned about it.

“Maybe I used to get disappointed,” Mularkey said during Monday’s press conference. “No control over it. It’s their option. It’s their choice. Whatever they feel is best for them.

“I do know this: We’ve had coaches down in Tuscaloosa for the (Pro Day); I’ve seen some video of Derrick in the weight room. He’s absolutely working out, so I know he’s in great playing shape right now. So, no, I have no concerns about it and won’t.”

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Except for a three-day minicamp, which the Titans will hold June 13-15, attendance at NFL offseason programs from the end of the season to the start of training camp is voluntary for veteran players.

Mularkey said he’d “probably” reach out to find out why Henry wasn’t there on Monday.

“I really just found out literally about 30 minutes ago who wasn’t here,” Mularkey said. “Once we get through the weights and the conditioning, then we basically have a better idea of who’s here and who’s not here. We’re not taking attendance when they walk in the building.”

Under NFL rules, offseason programs start with two weeks that are limited to strength and conditioning activities for a maximum of four hours per day. During Phase 1 of the offseason program, teams can specify two hours for players to be at the facility, and the players choose when to work out for the other two hours.

Only strength-and-conditioning coaches are allowed on the field with the players, and players are limited to 90 minutes on the field.

Mularkey said the Titans opened their offseason program with a team meeting, followed by offense, defense and special-teams meetings.

Henry joined Tennessee in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Henry had 490 yards and five touchdowns on 110 rushing attempts and caught 13 passes for 137 yards while spelling Murray in his first NFL season. Murray ran for 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns on 293 carries and caught 53 passes for 377 yards and three TDs to earn his third Pro Bowl invitation in 2016.

“It’s obviously a pivotal part for a young guy to get better in offseason workouts with probably one of the best strength coaches in the nation,” Murray said when asked about Henry’s absence on Monday. “I’m sure he’ll show up at some point, but that’s not something I have to worry about.”

Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota also was asked about Henry’s absence during his press conference on Monday.  

“I’m sure Derrick is taking care of himself and focusing on how he can improve,” Mariota responded.

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who’s been a Pro Bowler for the past two seasons, was less understanding.

“It definitely puts that little checkmark in the back of my mind and lets me know who I can count on, who I can’t count on,” Casey told The Tennessean. “To see your teammates show up is definitely great.”

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Published at Mon, 17 Apr 2017 18:54:37 +0000