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Ravens HC John Harbaugh 'fired up' to have Derrick Henry: 'We've had our hands full trying to stop him'

The Baltimore Ravens signed King Derrick Henry in 2024 to add some oomph to their backfield and stop the string of injury-riddled seasons that have left John Harbaugh's club piecemealing the position.

After years of Henry being the engine of the Tennessee offense, the big question this offseason is how the running back fits into a scheme that revolves around Lamar Jackson's unique dual-threat ability. Harbaugh told NFL Network's Steve Wyche at the Annual League Meeting on Sunday that Henry's ability to reach any gap makes him a diverse back.

"We'll, that's just it. People talk about attacking the full width of the field, especially in the run game," Harbaugh said. "You could do it in the pass game too or extend some runs or call them screens and things like that. These are all things Lamar is so good at. Lamar does it by throwing the ball. He could do it by reading the defense and keeping it or going a different way. We could take the back, and Lamar could go vertical. We've got a lot of different things that we like to do. So, A gap, B gap, C gap, D gap, alley, or all the way to the sideline, you want to attack a defense like that, right? That's important in the run game, and Derrick Henry can attack every single one of those areas just as well. He could come downhill, there's no doubt about it. He's going to get after that A gap and he's going to make people defend to force the defense to tuck in their real nice."

Harbaugh noted that Henry's big plays against his defenses in recent years stuck out when the Ravens contemplated signing the bruising back this offseason. In four career games against Baltimore, Henry rushed for 277 yards on 55 carries with three touchdowns. Most of that damage came in the past two battles. In 2020, Henry rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Last year in London, he averaged 8.1 yards per tote, netting 97 yards on 12 carries with a score, including a 63-yarder.

"Well, it's a big buzz, big guy and a big player," Harbaugh said. "He has a great personality and loves football. We played against him all those years. When you play against a guy, you earn respect for a guy, and we've had our hands full trying to stop him. So, it kind of speaks to us. How we want to play and approach the game, so I'm fired up to have him."

Injuries forced the Ravens to shuffle through backs last season, from J.K. Dobbins to Gus Edwards to Justice Hill to Keaton Mitchell to eventually signing Melvin Gordon and Dalvin Cook. Not only does Harbaugh hope Henry stops the cycle, but that the big back brings a different element that has been missing from the Baltimore offense.

Harbaugh is glad his defense no longer has to tackle Henry.

"Well, defensively, he's just real football," he said. "There's one thing to have a reputation, it's another thing to have the challenge of defending him. Just the fact that you have to tackle him. If he gets a head of steam, whether it's in the A gap or outside -- he took a fake reverse about 70 yards against us last year in London. You don't forget those things. Those things sting, and they stay stinging for a long time. So, we respect him, and he's going to help us."

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