King Henry can carry the weight of his crown
Earning membership into the 2,000-yard club hasn't gotten to Derrick Henry's head. Coming off a foot injury that marred the sequel to his historic 2020 season, the Titans star running back explained why he's highly motivated to regain his dominant form. "At my position, it doesn't last forever. So you gotta do what you can while you play this game," Henry said on Inside Training Camp Live. "My main focus is just trying to get better every day, no matter if it's in the weight room, the film room, or on the field. Just have that growth mindset of getting better and never being complacent and always staying hungry no matter what you achieve in this game." Henry described last year's injury as a "devastation" but was happy to return for the Titans' postseason run. Entering 2022 with a clean bill of health, Henry said he isn't changing anything as he gears up for his bruising style of football and mentioned the Titans sticking to their identity as they seek a third consecutive AFC South title. Will that mean he's anticipating the same type of workload in 2022? "We don't discuss those things," Henry said. "We take it week by week and I approach every week, you know, ready to work and do whatever I can for the team. However the game plays out, that's how it plays."
Fournette's got big genes, not big jeans
Offseason chatter reached its peak when questions of Leonard Fournette's weight ruled the conversation as training camp approached. The Bucs running back joined Inside Training Camp Live on Tuesday to clear the air. "It don't matter to me because I know who I am," Fournette said of his rumored weight gain. "I know that I can always get in shape. People don't understand as a running back you have to recover, you've got to train and then we have kids. I try to fit all that in the time I have to train, too. So, yeah, I mean I got big genes, so it is what it is." One facet of Fournette's self-care that won't ever be questioned is the health of his gums and teeth. The 27-year-old was seen brushing his teeth on the sidelines before practice on Monday, and NFL Network's Colleen Wolfe and Steve Smith got to the bottom of his dental obsession as Fournette revealed he has 40 toothbrushes and plenty of toothpastes to choose from in his locker. An endorsement may be in Fournette's future.
Aidan Hutchinson growing confidence
Lions rookie pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson is gaining confidence after his second practice in pads as a pro. Joining NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero on Inside Training Camp Live, the second-overall pick said Tuesday was happy to report he's trending upward on the practice field, and it has plenty to do with going up against esteemed offensive tackles like Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell. "Going up [against] guys like Deck and Penei, those guys are super talented," Hutchinson said. "It was fun, for sure. It's been a fun couple of days and we're just kind of getting into things in camp. I'm excited. I crave contact out here. This is what I love to do." Hutchinson's confidence is growing off the field, too, as he took up Pelissero's offer to preview his rendition of Michael Jackson's 1982 hit Billie Jean. Hutchinson sang the song during his rookie performance in front of the team, which is sure to make next week's debut of HBO's Hard Knocks.
Purple People Eaters 2.0?
The Vikings' new pass-rushing duo of Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter is looking to reprise the legendary "Purple People Eaters" of the 1960s and '70s. "We can replicate that," Smith said on Inside Training Camp Live on Tuesday. "Make it the Purple People Eaters 2.0." Smith was Minnesota's biggest catch in free agency this offseason, and he said the idea of lining up with Hunter played a major role in signing with the Vikings. The duo's newfound bond has even birthed a slogan -- "Meet at the quarterback" -- which has inspired shirts made for the 2022 season. Smith told NFL Network's Shaun O'Hara that new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell's scheme will allow the duo to attack. "He has us moving around a lot," Smith said. "So, (Danielle) is getting a chance to do that as well. It's going to be something crazy. I'll tell you this: Teams are gonna have to pick their poison." Though Smith (back) and Hunter (pectoral) missed most of last season due to injuries, they say they're feeling good in the early parts of camp. Said Smith: "We are being overlooked, but that's a good thing."
Dallas keeping it in-house at WR
For the time being, the Cowboys won't be looking for James Washington's replacement from the outside. "There's no urgency looking for a veteran receiver," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday, via The Athletic's Michael Gehlken. "Let's get these guys incentive, these young receivers." With Michael Gallup still on the PUP list, Dallas' young wideouts have gotten plenty of opportunity so far in camp and undrafted rookie Dennis Houston is taking full advantage. "He's really jumped out," coach Mike McCarthy said of the Western Illinois alum on Tuesday. "You can see it in OTAs. He made a lot of plays. Everybody, both sides of the ball, was impressed." Also receiving early praise in camp are third-round rookie Jalen Tolbert and T.J. Vasher, who spent time on the practice squad last year. With Washington expected to be shelved for 6-10 weeks, the Cowboys young receiving corps are doing their best to prove a free-agent signing won't be necessary.
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