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Titans RB Derrick Henry misses first day of OTAs

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The Titans almost had perfect attendance for the start of offseason voluntary workouts.

Tennessee Titans v Chicago Bears Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Today was Day 1 of the Titans 2017 voluntary offseason workout program and there was one notable absence from the group as they reported (sorry Bennett Okotcha):

EVERYBODY PANIC!!!111

Just kidding. These workouts are voluntary and it sounds like Henry is working out at the University of Alabama instead, so we shouldn’t totally freak out about this yet, but it is a situation worth monitoring as we move forward.

Multiple Titans veterans were asked about Henry’s absence during the media availability today. DeMarco Murray said “he’s not too worried about it”, but also mentioned that this is a pivotal part of the process especially for a young guy and praised the Titans strength coaches as some of the best in the league.

Jurell Casey was a little more outspoken about it.

“It definitely puts that little checkmark in the back of my mind and lets me know who I can count on, who I can’t count on,” Casey said about teammates who don’t arrive ready to work on day one. “To see your teammates show up is definitely great.”

Head Coach Mike Mularkey didn’t seem to be too upset by Henry’s absence, noting that they have been in close contact with Henry over the first couple months of the offseason and it sounds like the strength coaches in Nashville have at least compared notes with the strength coaches at Alabama.

“It’s their choice. Maybe I used to get disappointed. I have no control over it. It’s their option. It’s their choice. It’s whatever they feel is best for them. I do know this – we’ve had coaches down at Tuscaloosa for the workout. I’ve seen some video of Derrick in the weight room. He’s absolutely working out, so I know he’s in great playing shape right now. I have no concerns about it, and won’t.”

Obviously, you would love for everyone to show up, but it’s not mandatory and as long as he’s staying in good shape (and it sounds like he is) then this shouldn’t be viewed as a huge deal. Remember, Chris Johnson always skipped OTA’s to work out in Orlando during the offseason and he turned out OK. The only angle here that gives me even the slightest pause is the idea that maybe Henry is already growing impatient with his role in the offense. Mularkey’s quotes from a few weeks ago hint slightly at this thought.

"I think everyone wants Derrick to have a bigger role, including Derrick," Mularkey said. "We'll see how that unfolds. I've said it before: DeMarco Murray is our No. 1 back. He is our workhorse, and you saw that he is capable of doing that and being very effective.

Murray’s play earned him the right to enter 2017 as the starter until proven otherwise, but given the short careers that running backs have in today’s NFL, you can understand Henry’s urgency to get on the field as well. I’m chalking this up as a non-issue for right now even though it’s not a great look, but it could develop in to a real storyline if Henry starts making more noise as the season approaches.