Source: Henry headed to Cincinnati to sign deal with Bengals
By James Walker
Updated: August 18, 2008, 8:30 PM ET
The Cincinnati Bengals are close to reaching an agreement with free-agent receiver Chris Henry, a source told ESPN.com Monday night. Henry is en route from Charlotte, N.C., to Cincinnati to sign a contract with the team as early as Tuesday, the source said.
The Bengals refused comment on Henry when contacted by ESPN.com on Monday night.
"We don't comment on speculated player moves," Cincinnati team spokesman Jack Brennan said. "We only comment when something is done."
Henry, a former Bengal, was released by the team following his fifth arrest in three years for an alleged incident that took place on March 31. But charges of assault and criminal damaging were later dropped, making him eligible to play in 2008.
Still, the NFL suspended Henry for the first four games of the season.
But the Bengals had shown interest in Henry since the charges were dropped. There was a feeling in Cincinnati that the team may have overreacted in cutting its former third-round draft pick before the judicial system ran its course.
The Bengals have struggled in the past when Henry was not on the field. Last season the team was 2-6 while Henry served an eight-game suspension and 5-3 during the second half of the season with Henry in the lineup.
Henry has 88 career receptions for 1,370 yards and 17 touchdowns as Cincinnati's No. 3 receiver behind Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Recently, Henry told ESPN.com he vows to stay out of precarious situations if given another chance.
"I'm just focusing on what I need to be doing off the field so I can keep doing what I do on the field," Henry said. "I just have to be smart and handle myself like a professional at all times. Off the field, if I'll handle situations like I'm supposed to everything else will take care of itself."
Sunday's shoulder injury to Pro Bowl receiver Johnson, in addition to a recent hamstring injury to Houshmandzadeh and a toe injury in rookie Andre Caldwell, may have prompted the urgency to sign Henry this week. Although Henry will not be eligible to play until October, the team needs more capable bodies in practice and during the rest of the preseason.