Chris Henry, the former poster child for the Bad Newz Bengals, quietly has made a turn for the better, on the field and off.
And the change has not gone unappreciated.
Henry scored the Bengals’ lone touchdown in a 7-6 win over New England Thursday night, hauling in a 24-yard throw from Bengals backup quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan on a fourth-and-16 play in the second quarter. Henry made it look easy on that play and others, finishing the night with a total of four catches for 55 yards.
“He does it every practice,” said Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who didn’t play Thursday night due to an ankle injury. “Great kid, great skills, he does it all. He’s the guy we feel we need a big year from for us to be successful.”
Asked about the transformation he’s seen from Henry, Palmer said, “He’s made some mistakes and had his fair share of problems and things go wrong but he’s got a great group of people around him in times of need. He’s changed his mindset, changed the way he acts and it’s been a pleasant surprise for us.”
After multiple arrests and multiple suspensions from late 2005 through early 2008, Henry was in the news far more frequently for his inability to behave than for his playing ability. Waived by Cincy in April 2008, the Bengals gave him another chance last August.
He’s been under the radar ever since.
“I’m gonna keep it like that,” Henry said. “As long as I keep doing what I’ve been doing I can show everyone who’s watching that I belong here and I can be a professional about everything I do.”
Henry says he now finds life a little simpler.
“I don’t party no more or do nothing like that,” he said. “I’m at home with my family when I’m not working. I don’t dwell on the past, I’m just learning from my mistakes and moving forward. Ive grown from all the negative stuff that happened and I’m just gonna keep grinding and keep working.”