Hunter Henry has jumped into the New England Patriots with both feet, as the tight end was an active participant in Thursday's OTA session that was open to the media. Henry's presence was hard to miss, as a reinforced tight end group that includes Matt LaCosse, worked for much of the session on the field closest to the media.
Both veterans made some nice catches over the course of the session, including a diving one from Lacosse. For the newcomer Henry, becoming a Patriot has been everything he'd hoped for.
"It's been good, super excited to be here and it's been fun," said Henry after wrapping up practice. "Timing is huge on our side of the ball... there's a lot of new guys. Trying to build that timing, that chemistry off the field, on the field, it's been really [good]."
During Thursday's OTA practice, Henry demonstrated the kind of athleticism that the Patriots' have lacked at the position in recent seasons. While just a light workout, Henry showed sure hands and light feet and even took part in the quarterback's "bucket" drill contest.
Clearly, Cam Newton wasn't the only player having fun on the field.
"It's a great time before training camp comes to just get a lot of reps that maybe we can't get back," explained Henry, despite tearing his ACL at an OTA practice and losing his 2018 season with the Chargers. "I enjoy being here, it's fun to be around the guys, build this team chemistry as we go into the season."
With veteran numbers being released, Henry will wear no. 85 this season, which he figured to be a tribute to his former teammate Antonio Gates. But it's another tight end great, and former Patriot, Rob Gronkowski, that Henry has been spending more time on as he's been diving into old film to get a jump on the New England offense.
"Anytime you're learning something new you just have to immerse yourself in it so I've watched a lot of film," said Henry. "I've watched a lot of Gronk in the past two months. Obviously one of the best tight ends to play the game... It's an honor to be in the same tight end room and try to continue that legacy of tight ends here."
So far, Henry looks to be settling in nicely and that's good news for an offense that could use all the athletic talents he displayed on the field on Thursday.
"It's a winning culture, there's tradition here, there's a high level of expectations so I think a lot of us, including myself, are very excited to try to elevate ourselves to meet those expectations and this culture," said Henry. "I'm excited to be here in his locker and then go to work every single day with these guys."