December 17th, 2009 is a day that stands out to a lot of Bengals fans. Today, December 17th, 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of former Bengals wide receiver Chris “Slim” Henry’s sudden death at the young age of 26.
In his sophomore season at West Virginia in 2003 Henry broke out and had 1,006 yards on 41 catches for 10 touchdowns, clearly showing how much of a deep threat he was with his speed. In his junior season in 2004, he finished with 872 yards on 52 catches and 12 touchdowns.
In the 2005 NFL Draft Henry was overlooked and avoided by many teams because of his reputation of being a headcase and getting into trouble off the field. In classic Bengals (and Marvin Lewis) fashion, they took a chance on Henry in the third round of the 2005 draft and he had an immediate impact and became a big play guy out of the slot. The Bengals offense was a juggernaut in 2005 with quarterback Carson Palmer leading the way with a supporting cast of running back Rudi Johnson, and fellow wide receivers Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh in addition to Henry. In 2005 Henry had 422 yards receiving on 31 receptions and 6 touchdowns, including a big 66-yard catch on the first play of the 2005 AFC Wild card game against the Steelers.
After that 2005 season, Henry got into trouble several times and was suspended by the NFL for 2 games in the 2006 regular season for violating the leagues Personal Conduct and Substance Abuse Policies. Once again in 2007 Henry was suspended, this time for the first 8 games of the season. And in March of 2008 Henry punched a man in the face and threw a beer bottle through his car window, Henry was waived by the Bengals the next day.
In August of 2008 Henry was allowed back in the NFL and the Bengals resigned him and he stayed out of trouble for the entire 2008 season. According to multiple teammates, Henry was headed in the right direction. He did not get into any trouble through the first 14 weeks of the 2009 season, as the Bengals themselves seemed to turn their season around and were making a playoff push. Henry and his then-wife got into an altercation and he fell out of her truck while she was driving and suffered a severe head injury and he ended up passing away.
Rip Slim #15