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Henry's WVU coaches remember him fondly

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By Tony Dobies
Friday, Dec. 18, 2009
 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry, a former West Virginia star, died Thursday morning, one day after falling out of the back of a pickup truck in what police have called a domestic dispute.

Prior to entering the NFL Draft and joining the Cincinnati Bengals in 2005, Henry had a successful career at WVU under former head coach Rich Rodriguez.

"I enjoyed our time together at West Virginia, and we shared a lot of great moments," Rodriguez, the current Michigan coach, said in a statement. "I have many fond memories of our years together and will remember those forever."

WVU's current head coach, Bill Stewart, who was on staff while Henry was at the school, also issued a statement:

"The Mountaineer football family is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Chris Henry. He is in my thoughts as well as those of his former teammates. He will be greatly missed."

Henry left the West Virginia program as one of its most decorated receivers. The Belle Chasse, La., native spent two successful seasons in Morgantown. He is in the top 10 of nearly all receiving categories in WVU history, including eighth in yards (1,878), third in yards per reception (20.19) and second in touchdown receptions (22).

Steve Bird, who was the passing-game coordinator and receivers coach at WVU during Henry's tenure at the school, said the negative portrayals of Henry off the field didn't tell the whole story about his life.

"He was not a bad kid at all," Bird said. "He always used to say, 'Coach I'm not perfect.' Still, he had a lot of good intentions."

Henry, who was arrested five times, was suspended five times by the NFL. The Bengals released him in 2008 before giving him another chance this year. He was also suspended for a game during his time at WVU.

Bird, now a graduate assistant at South Florida, learned of Henry's death as he was leaving the Bulls' practice field yesterday morning.

"It was pretty tough," Bird said.

Bird said Henry never forgot his West Virginia ties and was on the sidelines for WVU's game at Cincinnati earlier this year.

"A lot of people just saw what was in the media," Bird said. "But I remember him as being a good kid."

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