One State's Honor Not Enough for Henry

Organizations in Tennessee, Alabama recognize the Titans running back's record-setting season.
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Appreciation for Derrick Henry’s greatness has crossed state lines. Again.

Last week, the Tennessee Titans running back was named the Professional Athlete of the Year by the Alabama Sportswriters Association.

It is the second straight year Henry has claimed the honor.

Last month, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame named Henry its Tennessean of the Year, which is the highest of that organization’s annual honors. That was a step up from his recognition as the TSHOF’s 2020 Male Pro Athlete of the Year.

Henry is the first to be named Alabama’s Pro Athlete of the Year twice in a row since former Major League Baseball pitcher Tim Hudson in 1999 and 2000 and the first football player ever to win it twice in a row. The only other to win it consecutively was former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas (1994).

Henry also is the third football player to claim the honor more than once. Former running back Shaun Alexander won it three times (2001, 2003, 2005) and quarterback Cam Newton got it in 2011 and 2015.

In his fifth NFL season Henry produced the fifth highest rushing total in league history with a franchise-record 2,027 yards, which made him the eighth player to rush for more than 2,000 yards. He also became the first player in 13 years to lead the NFL in rushing in consecutive seasons, led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns and was the only player with more than one 200-yard rushing performance in 2020 (he had three).

The NFL honored him as its Offensive Player of the Year back in February.

Before the Titans selected him in the second round of the 2016 draft, Henry spent three years at the University of Alabama and won the Heisman Trophy when he rushed for 2,219 yards in 2015.