The New England Patriots signing both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry last week caught everyone by surprise. Including Hunter Henry.
The former Los Angeles Chargers tight end agreed to terms with the Patriots just one day after they reached a deal with Smith, the other top TE on the market. Henry didn't expect New England to double-dip in free agency and sign two talented tight ends, but he's excited to form a dynamic duo with the ex-Tennessee Titans standout.
“I didn’t think this would happen where we would both end up in the same place,” Henry said on Monday. “We hadn’t even talked about that. I don’t think anybody even thought about that. Obviously, when I saw (Smith) go to the Patriots right out of the gates, I was like, ‘Wow.’ I was really happy for him. I just didn’t know if it was going to happen for me, too."
"Then, obviously, we started talking (to the Patriots) again and got it figured out, and I was fired up to join, too because I just feel like we can complement each other in a cool way. Obviously, the Patriots have a lot of success with tight ends, so I’m excited to kind of be able to hopefully add to that.”
The Patriots had next to zero production out of the tight end position in 2020. They've been unable to find much success at the spot since Rob Gronkowski's departure in 2019. Needless to say, Henry and Smith will provide an immediate boost for a new-look Pats roster next season.
“I’m excited for the guys that we got,” Henry said. “It’s going to be a blast to build that connection, to build that camaraderie, to just get out there and work and put the work in. I think that’s a big thing. I trust all the coaches. I trust what we’re building here with the Patriots. A big (part of) my decision of why I wanted to be a Patriot was just the trust of Coach Belichick and what we’re building there, and I’m just fired up to be a part of it.”
Henry caught 60 passes for 613 yards and four touchdowns with the Chargers in 2020.