LA Chargers: Hunter Henry is not as injury prone as you think

Hunter Henry of the LA Chargers (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Hunter Henry of the LA Chargers (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

LA Chargers tight end Hunter Henry does not deserve the injury-prone label.

Hunter Henry is one of the best young pass-catching tight ends in the NFL. While the LA Chargers tight end is not on the elite level that the likes of George Kittle, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz are on, he is on that next year and certainly has more to offer the Chargers in terms of production.

We have seen how talented Henry can be in the passing game, he is simply yet to reach his peak production. Of course, it is not a guarantee that he will reach it, but Henry is someone who could easily flirt with and surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

For many, the reason why Henry has not reached his ceiling is due to his health. Henry has had various injuries throughout his career and has earned the label of being injury-prone.

After all, it is Henry’s injuries that likely led the front office to franchise tag him for the 2020 season instead of working out an extension, as they did with Austin Ekeler and Joey Bosa.

And while the front office has every reason to be concerned about giving Henry a long-term deal, the exciting tight end is not as injury prone as you may think.

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If you take out Henry’s 2018 season, in which he missed the entire year due to an ACL tear, he has actually been on the field more than he is given credit for. Hunter Henry is one of 11 tight ends to have three seasons with at least 12 games and 10 starts since 2016.

Sure, his overall games is lower than most because he missed an entire season, and yes, he did miss four more games in 2019. I do not think it is enough to really warrant him as injury-prone, though.

Yes, he had one freak injury to his right knee, but he has played in at least 75 percent of the Chargers’ games in his other three seasons. That means something.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for Henry to get an extension as I do think it is smart to make this season a prove-it year for the tight end to see if he can stay healthy. And when it boils down to it, I think he will.

The two knee injuries are completely unrelated (different injuries and different knees) and he did not seem to be wearing any long-lasting effects while he played last season.

Another LA Chargers star was once labeled as injury-prone

Everyone knows that Keenan Allen did not start his career out on the right foot and missed plenty of games early on in his career. Allen played 38 games in his first four seasons, Hunter has played in 41.

Allen is an anomaly, as Bolt Beat’s own Steven Haglund made sure to remind me, but it does showcase how quickly we can be to jump into a narrative when it is circling around the media and how a player can quickly wipe away that narrative.

Am I saying that Henry is going to be the next Keenan Allen? Not at all. I just think it is way too early to assume that Henry is going to be this injury-prone tight end for the rest of his career because he had one freak injury that made him miss a season and because he missed four games the following year.

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It will be interesting to see how Henry fits into this new-look LA Chargers offense in 2020 and if he is able to shake the injury-prone narrative. I think he will.