Earlier this week, Danny Kelly of The Ringer released a list of players returning from injury that he believes could help swing the tide of the 2019 NFL season. Quite a few big names were mentioned, including Panthers tight end Greg Olson, Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, and 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The first name listed is what should sway Chargers fans to give it a read as Kelly named fourth-year tight end Hunter Henry, as well, in large part due to Adam Schefter’s recent tweet that probably struck a nerve or two for the Chargers’ faithful:
Chargers’ TE Hunter Henry tore his ACL one year ago today. Henry now back and looking strong during OTAs.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 22, 2019
Maybe take a second and consider sentence structure? Whew.
At any rate, Henry is healthy, wealthy, and hopefully wise. After being cleared to participate in the final game of the Chargers’ season against the Patriots, Henry saw small amount of snaps but was eventually held out once the game got out of hand.
If you were anything like me, the injury to Henry was incredibly devastating as he’s been one of my favorite players since he was drafted back in 2016. Aside from Forrest Lamp, he is who I cheer for the most. So you can imagine how awful the last two years have been for me...
It also didn’t help that I bought a brand new, super fresh Hunter Henry jersey ONE WEEK before he went down last May. (insert crying emoji here)
Alas, here is what Kelly had to say about the young, dynamic pass-catcher:
The Chargers’ dynamic tight end looked poised for a major breakout in 2018 but tore his ACL late in May at the team’s OTAs. That injury effectively robbed Henry of the entire season (he did end up returning to the active roster for L.A.’s playoff loss to the Patriots in the divisional round), but now fully healthy, he’s set up once again for a giant leap forward in 2019.
“The 24-year-old has played in 29 career games thus far, notching 81 catches for 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s a combo tight end who’s capable of blocking in the run game or creating mismatches in the passing attack; he brings physicality, athleticism, and toughness to the Chargers offense—and with Tyrell Williams (65 targets, 41 catches, five touchdowns) and Antonio Gates (45 targets, 333 yards, two touchdowns) both gone from the team’s passing attack, there’s going to be no shortage of opportunity for the soon-to-be fourth-year pro. I expect that Philip Rivers will look for him early and often this year.”
With so many opportunities left in the wake of Tyrell’s move to Oakland, and the potential for Gates to not be brought back by the team for another season, there’s well over 100 potential targets for Henry to gobble up this year.
Just keep your clovers and rabbit’s feet nearby at all times.