Running back Derrick Henry didn’t play with quarterback Jalen Hurts at Alabama. Henry won the Heisman Trophy and helped the Crimson Tide win the CFP national championship for the 2015 season, then left for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. Hurts got to Tuscaloosa in 2016.
But Henry could hardly be prouder of Hurts, as he related in the Titans’ locker room on Tuesday.
“He’s a great player; he’s a great person,” Henry said. “He represents what Alabama is. Times are going to be tough, times are going to be hard, but you keep fighting no matter what.”
During the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, Hurts took the field after Tua Tagovailoa suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Hurts has served as Tagovailoa’s backup in 2018 after holding the starting spot for the Tide in 2016 and 2017.
Hurts threw a touchdown pass and ran for a TD to rally Alabama to a 35-28 victory.
“He handled the situation the right way,” Henry said of Hurts. “Kept his poise. Fought through adversity. That just speaks about his character, who he is as a person and a player.”
Henry returns to the field on Thursday, when Tennessee squares off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC South game in Nashville. FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video will televise the game at 7:20 p.m. CST.
Henry ran for 40 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and caught two passes for 5 yards as the Titans rallied for a 26-22 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
Tennessee evened its record at 6-6 with four games remaining in the regular season. In the AFC playoff race, the Titans are one of four .500 teams chasing the 7-5 Baltimore Ravens for the final spot in the conference’s postseason field.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.