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The Patriots announced their 2023 team captains on Friday, and only one member was new to the leadership group: Hunter Henry. Despite that, the tight end says very little will change for him in his new role.
“I’m going to just still be who I am and just try to be as consistent as I can,” Henry told reporters Friday. “Maybe stepping up and talking a little bit more, maybe a little bit more vocal. But, at the same time, I feel like I’ve been that way anyways.”
Though Henry is new to the Patriots captain group this season, it’s not his first time taking on a leadership role. The Los Angeles Chargers named him a team captain for the first time in 2020. The following offseason, Henry signed with New England.
Now entering year three as a Patriot, Henry sees the progress he’s made from day one to now.
“I feel like I’ve grown a lot, this place has challenged me in a lot of ways,” Henry said. “When I first got here, I might have been a little uncomfortable in a way, and I think [New England] pushed me to get out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways, and it was for the better.”
The benefits of his time as a Patriot and living in the area extend to Henry’s personal life, too.
“I’ve had two kids here in Boston and New England, so this place will always have a special place for me starting my family,” Henry said. “So, both on and off the field, I’ve grown a ton.”
Henry joins Mac Jones, David Andrews, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Deatrich Wise Jr., and Matthew Slater to complete the group of captains. On Friday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was complimentary of the six selected for their hard work during the offseason.
“I think it’s a really good group, proud of the guys that the team selected,” Belichick said.
When asked about Henry specifically, Belichick applauded the tight end’s attitude and work ethic.
“He’s one of our best players, and he’s a dependable player, smart, makes a lot of good decisions, experienced,” Belichick said. “Everything’s pretty good, on and off the field. Well respected.”
Henry is entering his eighth year in the NFL. In his first season with the Patriots in 2021, he totaled a career-high nine touchdowns. Although his production dipped in 2022, he still finished with over 500 receiving yards. The last time Henry failed to register 500 receiving yards was in 2016, his rookie season.
This year, New England added Mike Gesicki to create a tandem with Henry, bolstering Mac Jones’ offensive weapons.
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