The Patriots are paying Hunter Henry a lot of money — $37.5 million over the next three years, to be exact — to become one of their top pass catchers starting in 2021. On Thursday, for a few hours, they endured an injury scare with the former Chargers standout. Earlier in the day, Henry was forced to leave practice due to a lower-leg injury and never returned. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, however, reports that the tight end’s issue is “nothing serious,” indicating Henry should be OK moving forward.
Injury scares are all but a daily part of the NFL offseason, but with Henry, any potential ailment is worth monitoring considering the tight end’s medical history. The former second-round draft pick, who left Los Angeles after five years with the Chargers this offseason, has yet to play a full season in his pro career. After missing one game as a rookie and two as a second-year veteran, Henry missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL and four games in 2019 with a separate knee issue. He also sat out two games in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Set to start alongside fellow tight end addition Jonnu Smith in New England, Henry initially appeared to injure his leg during a 7-on-7 drill about midway through Thursday’s practice, per NFL Network’s Mike Giardi. He had his ankle and foot re-taped following the apparent injury and attempted to re-test his leg on the sideline, Giardi reports, but never returned to the field, instead watching the remainder of practice from the sidelines.
It’s possible Henry could be kept out until — or even through — next week’s mandatory minicamp for precautionary reasons.