In a tragic development, Chris Henry, a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, died
Thursday after falling from a moving pickup truck during a dispute with
his wife. The incident casts a disquieting light on the athlete's life,
which was plagued by setbacks including "five arrests, three NFL
suspensions and a host of
second chances." Yet in the last year, Henry seemed to be improving his
behavior. Here's what his fans, sports critics and colleagues are saying:
- Unanswered Prayers Zennie Abraham, a sportswriter at The San Francisco Chronicle, writes: "We love people who overcome personal demons and rise to the level of
success they so richly deserve. Chris Henry was one of those people.
What bothers me is that my prayer that Henry make it wasn't answered,
which can only mean God has a better place for him. I'll just have to
- Did Henry Ever Change His Ways? asks James Joyner
at Outside the Beltway: "Henry showed flashes of greatness on the
football field but his
career was constantly overshadowed by off-the-field foolishness. Going
back to his college days, he had trouble with guns, drugs,
alcohol, women, girls not old enough to be called women, and the
police. Perhaps he had cleaned up his act -- he hadn't been arrested in
more than a year! -- but the circumstances of his death call that into
question. Truly a shame. But not a great surprise."
- He Was a Changed Man Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis said when Henry returned to the team in 2008, he matured greatly. Something the whole team noticed: "They've
watched Chris ... mature as a young man and work through adversity and
kind of come out of it and be a beacon of hope for other people,"
- It Wasn't His Time, says Bengals Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco, giving an interview in the Bengals' locker room: "He was doing everything right. He's been doing eveything right...My
grandma always says you never really question the man upstairs on
decisions he makes because he never makes mistakes, but ... (holding
back tears) I don't see how Chris was supposed to go already.
Especially when you're on the right path."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
jhudson at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.