Titans running back Derrick Henry calls Nick Chubb's knee injury unfortunate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry watched as Nick Chubb's season, and possibly his NFL career, ended with a hit bending Chubb's left knee the wrong direction.

Yes, the three-time Pro Bowl running back had the same reaction as everyone else watching the grisly injury in real time.

“It was tough to see and especially the type of player he is,” Henry said Thursday after only posting a string of broken-hearted and sad emojis on social media in response Monday night. “Don't want things to happen, but I mean that comes with the game.”

The injury comes with the Titans (1-1) visiting Chubb's Cleveland Browns (1-1) on Sunday. It also offers a stark reminder of why Henry got some of the NFL's top running backs texting and talking this offseason about how to improve their market value.

The NFL filed a grievance Sept. 11 against the NFL Players Association, alleging that union leaders, including President JC Tretter, have advised running backs to “consider feigning or exaggerating injuries” to help increase their leverage in contract negotiations.

Yet, the names of running backs sidelined by serious injuries is lengthy just two weeks into the season:

— Baltimore's J.K. Dobbins tore his Achilles tendon in the season opener, coincidentally the last year of his rookie contract.

— 2021 NFL rushing leader Jonathan Taylor is on the physically unable to perform list in Indianapolis after offseason ankle surgery. He's in the final year of his rookie contract.

— Austin Ekeler missed the Chargers' overtime loss to Tennessee last week with a sprained ankle.

— Giants running back Saquon Barkley was ruled out of Thursday night's game at San Francisco with a sprained right ankle. Barkley is playing under the franchise tag New York used paying him $10.1 million, the lowest for any position other than punters and kickers.

On Thursday, Henry said injuries happen in the NFL and Chubb, whom he called one of the best backs in the league, was simply trying to finish a physical run.

“You never want to see that happen,” Henry said.

"All the backs just trying to get out there and showcase our talents and do whatever we can to help our teams win and just do whatever we can to show our value to each team. And I know those guys are working hard to do that every day. But this unfortunate situation.”

Chubb and Barkley are two of the NFL's top four running backs by salary cap hit and base salary this season. Cleveland can get out of Chubb's deal in 2024 depending on the severity of his left knee injury, and Barkley will be a free agent if the Giants don't use the franchise tag on him again.

Henry became the eighth man in NFL history to run for at least 2,000 yards in a season in 2020. He was on his way to leading the league in rushing for a third straight season when he broke his right foot in 2021. He leads all running backs with a salary cap hit of $16.3 million for this season.

He rested Thursday. The running back who turns 30 in January and is in the final year of his contract is on the Titans' injury report with a toe issue that limited him in practice Wednesday.

Henry also is sharing some of the workload with rookie Tyjae Spears. Henry still commands the attention of opposing defenses, facing a stacked box on nearly half his carries, most of any NFL running back in Week 2. He still finished with 80 yards on 25 rushes and scored a touchdown.

For now, Henry is 97 yards from passing his “running back superhero” in Pro Football Hall of Famer Earl Campbell for second in yards rushing in this franchise's history.

“For me to be mentioned with his name is like a dream come true," Henry said.

NOTES: Teair Tart (knee) was limited Thursday after not practicing Wednesday. S Amani Hooker (concussion protocol) and CB Kristian Fulton (hamstring) practiced fully for a second straight day. The Titans added three-time All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) to the injury report as limited after he practiced fully Wednesday. Rookie WR/KR Kearis Jackson hurt an ankle Thursday during the open portion of practice and was limited.


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