One day after the death of teammate Chris Henry, the Bengals tried to focus on the field Friday as they prepared for a key game at San Diego.
Music was playing in the locker room as players packed up to leave for California. The team also held a 90-minute practice.
With a win over the 10-3 Chargers, the Bengals (9-4) will clinch the AFC North title and grab the inside track for the second seed in the conference playoffs.
The 26-year-old Henry died in North Carolina on Thursday, a day after falling out of the back of a pickup truck during police described as a domestic dispute.
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It’s the second time the team has had to deal with a death this season. Vikki Zimmer, the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, died unexpectedly at the couple’s home in October. Three days later, Zimmer coached the defense in a 17-14 win in Baltimore that put the Bengals in control of the AFC North.
Offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth, one of the team captains, said it was good for the team to be together to deal with Henry’s death.
“We had enough motivation already and now it’s added with the guys trying to live up to his legacy,” he said. “Things go on. We went on with it with Coach Zimmer. It hurts but you have a job as a man and professional and you have to move forward.”
A service for Henry is tentatively scheduled to be held Tuesday in Louisiana, his home state.