Wink Martindale: Derrick Henry is a modern-day Jim Brown

Arizona Cardinals v Tennessee Titans
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Some consider Jim Brown the greatest running back in NFL history. Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale was 2 when Brown retired after the 1965 season, so he never saw the Browns running back play except on NFL Films.

But Martindale has seen Derrick Henry play in person, and he’ll see the Titans running back again Sunday, and Martindale sees Brown when he watches Henry.

“He’s a physical guy that can be one cut and go,” Martindale said, via Ed Valentine of Big Blue View. “He can be whatever he wants to be at certain times. He’s a very talented back. He’s like our modern-day Jim Brown. He’s just that much different when he has the ball. He’s a challenge every time he touches it.”

Since 2018, Henry has led the league with 1,115 attempts for 5,563 yards. After back-to-back rushing titles in 2019 and 2020, Henry was leading the league in rushing after eight games last season when he injured his foot. It took Jonathan Taylor until the 11th game to pass Henry, who didn’t return until the postseason.

The Titans expect Henry to return to his pre-injury form. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have given Henry a raise last week, making him the highest-paid running back for 2022.

“I still don’t think they gave him enough,” Martindale said.

Henry ran for 133 yards on 28 carries in the Titans’ win over Martindale’s defense in Baltimore during the 2020 regular season after Henry had 30 carries for 195 yards in an upset of the Ravens in a playoff game the previous postseason.

“Thanks for reminding me,” Martindale said sarcastically.

So, Martindale knows exactly what awaits his defense Sunday, making for a sleepless week.

9 responses to “Wink Martindale: Derrick Henry is a modern-day Jim Brown

  1. Hype, at this point.

    We of course, will never know for sure, because the game and use of RB has changed, BUT, all I know was Jim Brown was more durable and never got injured in a much rougher era.

  2. Umm, err, no.

    Jim Brown is arguably the greatsst player in NFL history. Very stupid statement.

    This is like when people were trying to sell Kalil Mack as the next Lawrence Taylor.


  3. I love King Henry. As good as he is, Jim Brown was much better. He was faster than the King, and more than “one cut and go”, he was really elusive. No other running back has ever combined Brown’s size, power, speed, and elusiveness. He is simply, the greatest football player ever.

  4. It is a harmless comparison. Wink’s description of Henry’s running style can also apply to Earl Campbell, one of the very greats.

  5. 1. Wink Martindale was a gameshow host.

    2. At Henry’s age, Jim Brown had rushed for 2k more yards than Henry in an era when defenses keyed on stopping the run.

  6. If Henry can maintain his skills and pace for a few more years he can well be in the same class as Brown, but not comparable to him.

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