Henry says return to Tennessee a dream come true
The Tennessee Titans introduced the four-year veteran running back at a news conference Wednesday. The Bills announced the trade on Monday, then the Titans negotiated a four-year extension of Henry's contract through 2009.
Henry left the University of Tennessee after the 2000 season as the Volunteers' career leading rusher with 3,078 yards. He said hearing that he was being traded to the Titans and returning to Tennessee was a dream come true.
"Just playing in this state for four years, that made the decision real easy, too. I wanted to most definitely come here," Henry said.
The Titans had been interested in Henry since the NFL draft in April. Titans general manager Floyd Reese said interest from Jacksonville and Seattle prompted him to improve his offer from a conditional third-round pick to a third-round choice. He wasn't sure how serious the Seahawks were.
Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio told the team Web site last week he thought a deal for Henry would be completed within days. Reese said he thought about how he would feel if the Jaguars landed the running back.
"I laid in bed and I'd go, `I'd feel a whole lot better if he was in Titan blue.' That was kind of the bottom line," Reese said.
This move doesn't seem to be much of an improvement for Henry, who wanted out of Buffalo after the Bills gave the starting job to Willis McGahee last season. Henry, a three-year starter with two 1,300-yard rushing seasons, now joins Chris Brown in the Titans' backfield.
But Brown has had trouble staying healthy in his first two seasons. He missed five games last year with turf toe that limited him to 1,067 yards in 2004, giving the Titans a rushing offense that ranked 14th in the NFL.
Henry said he won't speak to Brown until training camp opens July 29. Brown said he is happy to see anyone who can help the Titans win and will respect whatever decision coach Jeff Fisher makes in splitting up carries.
"My job is to go out and play when my number is called," Brown said in a statement.
Fisher said he plans on playing both running backs and wouldn't be surprised if both finished 2005 with a similar number of rushes. He plans to rotate both in new offensive coordinator Norm Chow's offense.
He isn't worried about keeping both happy.
"What I'm worried about is winning games. I know that's first and foremost in Travis' mind and it's first and foremost in Chris' mind. We win games, everybody's healthy and happy. They're both going to play," Fisher said.
Henry echoed that sentiment and said he and Brown can cause confusion for any defense. He also said he is fully recovered from torn ligaments in his right ankle that kept him out of five games in 2004.
Quarterback Steve McNair is happy to see the addition of a physical back who likes to run inside.
"I think they will both be very involved in the offense, and I wouldn't be surprised if they are both on the field in the same backfield from time to time," he said. "I look forward to seeing those two guys together in camp carrying the ball."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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