Henry not nostalgic as Pats put together to face his former crew


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Apart from the sunny climate he left behind, a 12 months later Hunter Henry is feeling simply…

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Apart from the sunny climate he left behind, a 12 months later Hunter Henry is feeling simply effective about his determination to go away the Los Angeles Chargers to affix the New England Patriots.

Because the tight finish prepares to go to California to face his former crew this week, Henry mentioned he solely has good reminiscences in regards to the franchise that drafted him in 2016.

“Clearly, they gave me a possibility on this league, took an opportunity on me and drafted me,” Henry mentioned Wednesday. “So I’ll all the time have numerous appreciation for them. Who is aware of the place I might be?”

Henry spent his first 5 years with the Chargers, transferring with them from San Diego to Los Angeles in his second season. He was a key contributor to offenses led by Philip Rivers after which final 12 months by Justin Herbert.

Henry’s consistency — 115 catches and 9 touchdowns mixed in 2019 and 2020 — attracted the eye of the Patriots, who lured him away in free company.

Accidents contributed to him getting off to a gradual begin in New England. He caught 10 passes for 109 yards and no touchdowns in his first three video games.

However since then he’s discovered a groove, catching a landing cross in 4 straight video games. Henry is inside placing distance of the crew report for consecutive video games with a TD catch, held by Rob Gronkowski (six in 2011).

He’s additionally been lively on particular groups, making a key block throughout the opening kickoff final week in opposition to the Jets after New York had tried to confuse the Patriots by kicking into the solar.

Henry’s block freed up Gunner Olszewski for a 31-yard return. The Patriots turned the nice discipline place into the primary of 5 straight scoring drives in a 54-13 rout.

“It’s little issues like that that Hunter does which can be actually sort of, they’re little issues that turn out to be huge issues,” coach Invoice Belichick mentioned.

It’s a brand new position for Henry, however one he mentioned he’s been embracing.

“I’ve not accomplished a ton of reps in kickoff return, however when my quantity’s referred to as I attempt to do as a lot as I can for this crew,” he mentioned.

“I’m simply attempting to win soccer video games. If meaning being on kickoff return, no matter they’re gonna name on me to do I’m simply gonna attempt to execute on a excessive degree.”

For the second straight season, Henry finds himself within the place of serving to a franchise break in a rookie quarterback. He developed rapport final season with Herbert, who threw for 4,336 yards and 31 TDs.

This 12 months, Henry is having fun with what’s rapidly changing into a standout first NFL season for Mac Jones.

Henry acknowledged it was troublesome parting methods with Herbert, primarily due to the friendship they constructed away from the sphere.

“I loved my time with Justin,” Henry mentioned. “Excited to see his success final 12 months after which it proceed this 12 months. So there have been elements of it that have been onerous, however I’m excited for the brand new journey and now alternative right here. As soon as Mac got here in I used to be excited to proceed to develop with him.”


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Aila Slisco

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