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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Henry will battle for starting job with Titans

    To start his NFL career, the first order of business for Chris Henry was to pick out a jersey number.

    It didn’t take him long.

    “”He’s going to try to make a name for No. 29,”” said Henry’s agent, Josh Luchs. “”Eric Dickerson made it look good, so I hope Chris Henry can.””

    Henry makes the switch to No. 29 after wearing No. 19 his last year at Arizona.

    The former UA tailback was drafted Saturday with the 18th pick in the second round by the Titans in the exact position Luchs had originally projected Henry to go.

    Last week Luchs said over the phone that Henry would be the second player at his position to go in the second round and conjectured the Titans would be the team to take him.

    “”We really focused on Tennessee and felt like he fit that offense the best,”” Luchs said. “”With their coaching staff, front office and personnel, he’s a guy that can step right in there and get paid.””

    Luchs had targeted Tennessee after teams like Minnesota, Buffalo and Cleveland, who were all believed to be in the mix for Henry, had essentially dropped

    themselves out of the race.

    The Vikings selected tailback Adrian Peterson seventh overall, and the Bills got their back when they chose Marshawn Lynch with the 12th pick.

    The Browns traded their second-round pick so they could draft Brady Quinn, paving the way for the Titans to pick Henry.

    “”We were working the Titans really hard,”” Luchs said. “”When we lost those teams, we felt the lowest we could go would have been Tennessee, and it worked out that way.””

    It is the second year in a row Tennessee pegged a Pacific 10 Conference running back in the second round.

    Former USC tailback LenDale White served as a rookie complement to Travis Henry, who is now with the Denver Broncos and is expected to compete for the starter’s job with another former UA back, Mike Bell.

    “”They’re going to go in and fight it out,”” Luchs said of the Titans’ new position battle. “”The most prepared, most focused back is going to start there. Obviously my money’s on Chris Henry.””

    A particular game of interest on Tennessee’s schedule is a matchup of former Arizona running backs, Bell and Henry, scheduled for Nov. 19, ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

    Luchs said despite the public’s view that Henry was trying to prove people wrong by entering the draft, Henry is simply “”elated about starting a new chapter in his life.””

    “”From what I know of Chris, he’s not the type of person who’s looking at this and saying to all those people who doubted him, ‘Ha-ha, look at me now,’ “” Luchs said. “”He is just (beside) himself with joy that he’s going to have the opportunity to go to Tennessee and play with Vince Young. With any luck, the Titans are going to be that team that has back-to-back rookies of the year.””

    However, Luchs stated afterwards he wanted to steer clear of making it seem like he was making a bold prediction.

    Luchs said contractual numbers had yet to be talked about with the Titans, but said the goal for Henry is to get a deal worked out before training camp.

    Folk may be used for kickoff role

    With kicker Martin Gramatica resigning with the Cowboys after last season, former UA kicker Nick Folk will spend training camp competing for the field goal kicker and kickoff job.

    He may also get a chance to become the punter, a position currently occupied by Mat McBriar.

    “”It’s just a great opportunity to do this. I’m so happy right now,”” Folk said. “”They like my leg and they like that I can kick off deep. There’s going to be an open competition from what they told me, so I’m going in there with an open mind to play in the fall.””

    Johnson almost forgotten in the draft

    Neil Cornrich, the agent of former Arizona safety Michael Johnson, believes that Johnson slipped so much in the draft because he was injured for much of his senior season.

    “”Michael is a player with outstanding range in his abilities, but unfortunately, for the … Wildcats, much of his senior season was filled with injuries,”” Cornrich said. “”That took a toll on his performance. The good news is he’s going to a team that has a tremendous need at his position, and he’s healthy.

    “”He’ll have an opportunity to contribute immediately. … He’s excited to go to an organization that plays on the biggest stage in the world in New York.””

    Johnson was projected by draft Web sites to go around 100th overall. Instead, he was chosen 234th overall by the Giants.

    “”I thought Mike would be selected a lot earlier,”” Folk said. “”It was a great draft overall for us. It’s good to get some people back in the league. Arizona’s coming around again.””

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