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After re-signing with Patriots, tight end Hunter Henry excited to help lead team to new era

Facing free agency, Patriots tight end Hunter Henry opened up about his decision to sign on for three more years in New England.

Hunter Henry

A lot has changed for Hunter Henry since he first arrived in Foxborough in 2021.

The Patriots tight end and his wife, Parker, were a young couple just excited to see where life in the NFL took them. Fast-forward to signing a second contract with New England almost three years to the date, Henry is not only a leader on and off the field but a father of two.

"This place will always hold a special place in my heart," Henry said Wednesday at Gillette Stadium.

"I had both of my kids here, and we came here when we were young. It's a special place, Parker and I both love it here, and are excited for three more years."

Henry was slated to hit free agency this offseason, and certainly would have been coveted by teams across the league. Over the last three seasons, he averaged 47 catches for 543 yards and six touchdowns for the Patriots. With only a few tight ends available in free agency, his market value held leverage.

New England didn't let it get that far. The team struck a deal with one of its most reliable veteran weapons amid all the differences coming to the offense.

Henry already was a team captain, but with a new head coach, new coordinators, and a new scheme, the challenge of being a leader to establish a new culture is one he is embracing.

"Obviously, last year wasn't what we wanted to be at all," Henry said. "Change needed to happen and I'm excited to be part of that change, hopefully for the better, and to lead those guys, hang out with them, build more camaraderie, and build a culture here that we can carry for years on end."

That starts from the top with head coach Jerod Mayo.

Henry notes that despite preparing on different sides of the ball, he's loved his time with the newly appointed head coach and is excited to watch Mayo take on his new role.

It's an era he wanted to be part of, too.

"We spent a lot of time off the field talking and getting to know each other," Henry said of Mayo.

"He is a great coach as well so seeing that on the football field and then also knowing him off the field, I think both of those things together really impacted me in a lot of ways. I was fired up once he got the head coaching job and I'm excited to see him as a head coach."

Henry is less familiar with his new offensive coordinator, but back in the building for the first time Wednesday, the tight end finally got to meet Alex Van Pelt in person.

"I just met (Van Pelt) today," Henry said. "I learned a lot today and am excited to dive into the scheme, the offense, and really try to execute at a high level and score a lot of points."

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