Belle Chasse high school will be retiring the late Chris Henry's No. 1 jersey during a half-time ceremony this Friday. Henry, selected in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft, passed away in 2009 during an automobile accident involving his fiancee. He was only 26 years old.
"He just was full of life," said Tony, 34, the owner of a semi-pro football team in Plaquemines Parish. "Everything about him was sports. Everything he did was competitive. He hated to lose at anything -- Nintendo, basketball. Anything he did, he hated to lose."
Henry, known for his conduct off the field, began cleaning up his act after Cincinnati finally released him on April '08. They brought him back later that year out of necessity, but also out of Mike Brown's sense of loyalty towards his players -- specifically helping them out.
His story through adversity is well documented. Henry began the most impressive transition after being released in '08. Not only had people taken note, but Henry became the model of second chances in the NFL. Anthony Munoz said, "You root for guys like that. You understand what a great opportunity he had, and you had to root for him." Many of his former teammates, including Carson Palmer, took him under his wing to help guide him when he rejoined the Bengals in 2008. Palmer invited Henry to California to workout and Henry joined him. John Thornton once said, "I feel he’s a good kid at heart who needed the support of a team, and I think he thrived on it when they brought him back."
By 2009, hesitations and character questions were dissolving when most fans only anticipated his patented long touchdown receptions he'd been known for. Unfortunately it was short-lived when reports surfaced about an accident in North Carolina. He passed away on Dec. 17, 2009.