Bengals mourn loss
By Joe Kay
CINCINNATI ó For the second time in their breakthrough season, the Cincinnati Bengals are dealing with death.
Teary players held a somber practice Thursday and dedicated the rest of their season to receiver Chris Henry after learning that he’d died a day after falling from the back of a pickup truck during what police described as a domestic dispute.
Shocked players huddled by themselves in the locker room once they got word that Henry had died at a hospital in Charlotte. They said a group prayer, then went out on the Paul Brown Stadium field to walk through some of their plays for an upcoming game in San Diego.
No one said much.
“It was tough,” receiver Andre Caldwell said. “We were crying.”
The team was grief-stricken in October when Vikki Zimmer, the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, died unexpectedly at the couple’s home. Three days later, Zimmer coached the defense in a 17-14 win in Baltimore. Afterward, players teared up when Zimmer received the game ball.
Henry’s death was particularly stunning to his teammates because he had put so much effort into changing his life in the last two years. Chad Ochocinco couldn’t finish his plate of lunch ó he dumped broccoli into a trash bin ó and shuffled around the locker room slowly.
Ochocinco sniffled and blinked back tears welling in his eyes when he remembered how he’d talked to Henry on Tuesday night, catching up on things. Henry had been in Charlotte, where his fiancee’s parents live, recovering from a broken arm.
“He was doing everything right,” Ochocinco said. “My grandma always says you never question the man upstairs on decisions he makes. Everyone makes mistakes, but I don’t see how Chris was supposed to go already, especially when he was on the right path.”