The Tennessee Titans suffered a horrendous 19-16 overtime loss to the Houston Texans at home this past Sunday. With that, the Titans are officially eliminated from the playoffs, and it was well deserved with the performance they had after a huge win the week prior.
Most people will agree that no position group, at least on offense, cost the Titans more than the offensive line did on Sunday. Even after evaluations and changes being made with the guys up front, they still cannot figure out anything, and everyone is just waiting until the offseason for Ran Carthon and company to bring in more talent.
Even with the offensive line crippling the entire offense, we cannot just look at and ignore the forgettable day Derrick Henry had. Against an opponent he traditionally dominates, he was a total non-factor on Sunday, rushing 16 times for just nine yards (yes you read that right).
He looked slow, stiff, and indecisive with the ball in his hands, but potentially even more alarming than his play on the field were his comments in the postgame press conference on Sunday.
Derrick Henry admits his time in Tennessee might be ending soon
Everyone knows Henry is in the last year of his contract with the Titans and is approaching age 30: a dreaded age for all NFL players, especially running backs. It has been widely expected for a while that this would be Henry's last year in Tennessee, and as such, he was asked about it following his dismal performance on Sunday.
The answer he gave was surprisingly, but brutally honest, and an eyebrow raiser to say the least.
Normally, when a player is asked a question like this, he will follow it up with a generic line such as "I'm not thinking about that right now, just focusing on the games remaining," or something similar. When you hear anyone, especially a player of Henry's caliber, give an answer like this, you just have to wonder how much they believe in their own abilities.
What was particularly concerning about his answer was when he said "today.....you had that feeling" in regards to his time in Tennessee potentially ending. Maybe this is reading into it a bit closely, but it certainly sounds like the thoughts occurred to him in the middle of the actual game.
This was a critical game in which the Tennessee Titans were fighting for their playoff lives and had to be as locked in as ever. I am certainly not trying to knock Henry's effort or intentions, everyone knows he is as committed as you can be, but hearing a comment like that indicates that during the game, he might have realized that Father Time is hitting him.
As mentioned, this is the first time that I or anyone else remembers Henry floating the possibility of his time in Tennessee soon ending. Even during and after he suffered his foot injury two years ago, all he seemed to care about was just rehabbing and getting back to the level he had been at, so hearing him say what he said days ago is eye-opening.
It is a tough thing to come to terms with, given that Henry is a Tennessee Titans legend and is one of only eight players in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. But all good things must come to an end at some point, and it seems as if his tremendous tenure in Nashville is nearing its expiration date.
Now with all of this being said so far, nothing is set in stone, and the Tennessee Titans and Henry could work something out to keep him put for one or two more years. Henry has been adamant forever that being a Titan is important for him, so there is a non-zero chance that he could agree to take less money for a lesser role to stay in Tennessee.
But unfortunately, the logical thing for Titans fans to do at this time is expect that the final three games this year are very likely his final ones in the two-tone blue.
And if that is, Henry deserves the best sendoff possible, and I hope Tennessee Titans fans pack Nissan Stadium for the next two games for no other reason but supporting him. He, along with Ryan Tannehill and others, is one of the main reasons that the Titans ever had any playoff success and Super Bowl hopes, and Henry's contributions on and off the field will always be more than appreciated!