Cincinnati Bengals WR Chris Henry died early Thursday morning as a result of injuries suffered in a pickup truck accident on Wednesday.
He was 26.
In 55 regular-season games with the Bengals, Henry had 119 receptions for 1,826 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also had one catch for 66 yards in the Bengals’ 2005 playoff game against Pittsburgh, but injured his knee in the process. Ironically, it was the same play on which QB Carson Palmer’s knee got shredded, and Henry’s injury went almost unnoticed.
As a Bengal, Henry was more famous — or infamous, if you prefer — for a string of off-field run-ins with the law which got him suspended repeatedly by the league, and nearly cost him his career. Prior to the 2008 season, Henry was actually cut by the Bengals following accusations he threw a beer bottle through a car window. After the charges were dropped, he was re-signed by owner Mike Brown, over the objections of head coach Marvin Lewis.
By all accounts, Henry had turned his life around since, and played an under-rated role in Cincinnati’s early successes this season. Through eight games, Henry had a modest 12 catches for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns, but his importance as a deep threat became apparent after he broke his arm against Baltimore and was placed on injured reserve. Since then, the Bengals have struggled mightily to throw the ball, culminating (so far) in the anemic 94-yard passing effort against Minnesota last Sunday.
But football is, obviously, secondary this morning. Twenty-six, engaged to be married, three kids, finally growing up and getting it together (.pdf, h/t PFT) and then…gone. At Christmas. It’s just not fair. At all. My thoughts and prayers go out to Henry’s family, friends and the team.
So long, Chris. All the bad times are forgotten. Thanks for all the TDs.