“I kind of felt I dug myself out of the hole and started doing the right things.” -Chris Henry
Early yesterday morning, Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver, Chris Henry, passed away after falling out of the bed of a pickup truck. On Wednesday, Henry was involved in a domestic dispute with his fiancée at their home, when she got in a pickup truck and began to drive away. According to police, Henry hopped into the bed of the truck, beating on the back window. About a half-mile from his home, Henry fell out, suffering what turned out to be fatal injuries.
For most people, Henry is best known for his troubles off the field. His problems began in December 2005, when he was pulled over for speeding. During the stop, police found that Henry was driving without a license or valid insurance, and was in possession of marijuana. His problems continued in ’06 (suspended for two games), ’07 (suspended for eight games), and early ’08. At one point in late 2007, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told Henry that any future issues could result in the end of his career in the league.
No one ever questioned Henry’s talent. In high school, he played football, basketball, and ran track. He played two years at West Virginia University, before declaring his eligibility for the draft. As a pro, Henry could be explosive. In 2009, he broke his arm and was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list, but he was making better off the field decisions. In the last year of his life, it seemed that Henry was turning things around.
“We knew him in a different way than his public persona,” Bengals owner Mike Brown said, “He had worked through the troubles in his life and had finally seemingly reached the point where everything was going to blossom. And he was going to have the future we all wanted for him.” Sadly, we will never know the side of Chris that he only recently started to show to the public. An emotional Chad Ochocinco said of Henry, “He was doing everything right… Everyone makes mistakes, but I don’t see how Chris was supposed to go already, especially when he was on the right path.”
Any loss of life is tragic, but Henry was only 26. He was clearly headed in the right direction, and it’s tough to see a young man with so much potential lose his life in such a foolish manner. RIP Chris Henry.