Derrick Henry: ‘No-brainer’ to sign with Ravens

OWINGS MILLS — Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta confirmed Thursday that the team tried to acquire running back Derrick Henry at last year’s trade deadline.

The Titans didn’t budge with entertaining offers, so Henry played out the string in Tennessee.

DeCosta was again focused on signing Henry as a free agent this offseason. This time, he was successful.

Henry agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract worth up to $20 million with the Ravens in a deal that became official on Wednesday.

On Thursday, flanked by DeCosta and coach John Harbaugh at the Ravens’ Under Armour Performance center, Henry said he always envisioned himself playing for the Ravens. He wore a purple suit for the occasion, one that had sentimental value. Purple was his grandmother’s favorite color and he bought it for her funeral. Henry soon will be wearing more purple.

“It really was a no-brainer for me. This is where I knew where I wanted to be,” Henry said at his introductory press conference. “I love the style [and] the physicality that they play with on all three phases. I feel like it fits my style of play as well. And it really was a no brainer – [we were] just trying to figure out the business side of things. [I’m] glad we were able to get it figured out.”

The Ravens will once again be among the favorites to make a Super Bowl run next season with Henry and reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson at quarterback.

Henry, a four-time Pro Bowler and the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year, is a dominant player who adds another dimension to the Ravens’ offense.

Henry, 30, started all 17 games for the Titans in 2023 and was named to his fourth Pro Bowl. He led the AFC and ranked second in the NFL with 1,167 rushing yards on 280 carries (4.1 average), while his 12 rushing touchdowns tied for fifth in the conference. Henry also posted 214 receiving yards on 28 receptions (7.6 average).

Henry has appeared in 119 regular-season games, totaling 9,502 rushing yards and 90 touchdowns on 2,030 carries (4.7 average). He has added 1,458 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 155 receptions (9.4 average), while also throwing four touchdowns (7-for-9 passing for 37 yards).

His punishing running style fits perfectly into the Ravens’ offense. Harbaugh joked that there were other coaches on his staff who were just as happy about the signing — the offensive coaches who can game-plan for Henry and the defensive assistants who don’t have to worry about playing against him.

“It’s just great for our team. It’s going to make a difference for us,” Harbaugh said. “I know the players are excited, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Henry is familiar with the Ravens because he has played against them six times in his eight-year career. In the 2019 AFC divisional playoff game, Henry ran for 195 yards and threw a touchdown pass in the Titans’ 28-12 victory over the top-seeded Ravens.

“Every time we played [the Ravens], it was physical,” Henry said. “We had to have a great game plan to prepare for these guys, especially on defense because they give you so many different looks. Then, our defense getting ready for Lamar and how you’re going to game-plan against him. I’m definitely glad to go to the other side now.”

Since 2017, Henry leads the NFL in almost every major rushing category, including yards (9,012), touchdowns (85), yards per game (86.7), attempts (1,920), and gains of 10 or more yards (220).

Henry and Jackson should create headaches for opposing coordinators.

“Lamar is so dynamic in how he plays, and his playmaking ability, especially me seeing it going against these guys for a little while now,” Henry said. “So, [I’m] excited to play with him. He had a great year this year, [and he] did a lot of great things.

“We have a lot of great guys in the offense, and I just want to be an added piece to this offense to help them do better than they did last year. And right now, [I’m] just trying to focus on earning respect from my teammates.”


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