Chris Henry, the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, has died this morning at age 26 of injuries he sustained after jumping into the back of a truck driven by his fiance while they were fighting.
Henry's death comes as a particularly bitter end to a troubled career that was looking up recently. Oft compared to Randy Moss for his talent at getting open and scoring long touchdowns and being from West Virginia combined with an unfortunate knack for finding trouble, Henry had a number of brushes with the law previously.
Henry had been pulled over multiple times and more than once was either found to be under the influence or in possession of marijuana. He also had party-related issues, being accused of carrying a concealed weapon illegally, using it to assault someone, assaulting a valet in Northern Kentucky and allowing underage women to consume alcohol at his hotel. Henry was arrested for assault again in early 2008 and then waived by the Bengals.
This was the point when Henry's off-the-field troubles started to alleviate. He stayed out of trouble and the Bengals brought him back for the 2008 campaign. He was exhibiting good behavior throughout his second stint with the team and this season he was put on Injured Reserve after breaking his left forearm in a November 8 win against the Baltimore Ravens. Sadly, the injury was probably his undoing.
While Henry was with the team on this second stay, he had been doing well. If he had not sustained the broken forearm he probably would have been with the team in Cincinnati attending meetings and sticking with the team. However, his injury and subsequent inability to play allowed him to go to Charlotte where the incident began. It is being reported that Henry came out of the back of the truck that his fiance was driving after he jumped into the bed while she was leaving her residence.
Today's sad news is compounded by the fact that Henry and his fiance were raising three children together. Circumstances conspired together to end the life of a talented, troubled and very young man while his family and Bengals fans are left with only one question: "Why?" Why now when Henry was doing better and straightening his life out?