Derrick Henry is about to begin his NFL career, but before he does, another former Alabama great has provided the Heisman Trophy winner with some guidance.
Shaun Alexander was a first-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft and had a nine-year NFL career that included MVP honors in 2005. At a keynote address at the Greater Alabama Council’s Boy Scouts of America luncheon on Thursday, Alexander, who said he has a relationship with Henry, provided advice for the soon-to-be NFL rookie via Roy S. Johnson of AL.com.
“Surround yourself with good people,” Alexander said. “There needs to be an elder around you and a brother who’s gonna do it with you. Usually those two people will guide you and tell you whatever you need to do to help you still be who you are, and grow and become a man — and at the same time nudge you back from the path that could be dangerous for you.”
Alexander earned three trips to the Pro Bowl during his eight seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and retired as the franchise’s all-time rushing leader with 9,429 yards and 100 touchdowns. His 27 rushing touchdowns in 2005 tied an NFL record that was broken a year later by former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
At Alabama, Alexander racked up 3,565 yards and 41 touchdowns, both of which were school records. While Mark Ingram managed to reach 42 touchdowns in his time with the Crimson Tide, Alexander’s rushing record held until last season when Henry reached 3,591 yards with a 158-yard performance against Clemson in the national championship game.
Alexander told Michael Casagrande of AL.com he was happy to see the record fall.
“It’s awesome,” Alexander said in January. “He’s supposed to. I was telling everyone earlier, ‘When you come to this university, your job is to carry the torch.’ Somebody will break Derrick’s records or the ones that we’re tied with and it’s good. We want the next guy up to break all the records because that means we won again.”
Henry is projected to be the second running back taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, according to most experts, who have him behind Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott.