Derrick Henry’s Parents Were Just Teenagers When They Had Him

By AustinPublished on: February 18, 2024 Updated on: February 19, 2024
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The four-time Pro Bowl Derrick Henry has made quite the name for himself. His journey into the National Football League was full of hurdles. While he was born to his parents, Derrick Henry Sr. and Stacy Veal, he has had several guardians in his life. Did you know the running back was raised by his grandmother, as his father and mother were teenagers when they had him?

Keep reading the article to discover more interesting facts about Henry’s upbringing and all the figures involved.

Derrick Henry’s Parents Were Relatively Young When They Gave Birth To Him

Henry was born on January 4, 1994, to Derrick Sr. and Stacy in Yulee, Florida. His mom was 15, and his dad was 16. As they were young, they had to lean on Derrick Sr.’s folks, Gladys Henry and Benjamin Henry, for help. The athlete was four months old when he started living with his grandparents.

Derrick Henry's parents, Derrick Henry Sr. and Stacy Veal, were teenagers when they had him
Henry Sr. and Stacy celebrating their son’s success.

However, they were not alone. Gladys and Benjamin had fourteen children, so Derrick always had his aunts and uncles around. It was with his grandpa that he first played football. Unfortunately, Benjamin passed away when Derrick was six, but everything he taught stayed with him.

Furthermore, the footballer alternately stayed with his grandparents, coaches, father, and mother.

Also Read: Derrick Henry & His Baby Mama Adrianna Rivas: Getting Married?

Derrick Henry’s Mother, Stacy Veal, Has Always Had His Back

Stacey is a hemodialysis technician. As stated earlier, she was quite young when she had her son, so she could not play the role of a parent at the start. However, as her kid grew up, Stacey always looked after him.

The Heisman Trophy-winning running back wanted to transfer from the University of Alabama as he did not feel at home there. Things might have been different if he had moved to another college, but his mother urged him to stay. Stacy even called the Florida coach, Nick Saban, and told him of the situation; things changed after the call.

Derrick Henry's mother, Stacy Veal, has always supported him
Derrick hugging his emotional mom.

Moreover, she was among the few people the NFL star regularly thanks; he considers her his best friend, and she has always been there to support him.

Derrick Henry’s Father And His Legal Troubles

Henry Sr., who became a dad at 16, has been in and out of prison since Derrick’s early life, missing most of his childhood. He is referred to as “Big D” now and was first arrested for possession of cocaine when Junior was 20 months old.

Derrick Henry's father, Derrick Henry Sr., has been in and out of prison
Big D has been arrested 20 times.

Besides, Big D has been arrested 20 times for charges like sale or delivery of a controlled substance, soliciting for prostitution, hit and run, and driving under the influence, according to USA Today.

Because of his legal troubles, he had a hard time maintaining a job. Now, he helps make customized barbecue grills.

The Father-Son Dynamic

Henry has a good relationship with his father and is still very close. Big D knows he followed the wrong crowd and was “young and crazy.” He wanted to keep his little one out of it all. Derrick Sr. recalled a talk he had with his son in an interview,

I told him: ‘You don’t need to do that. I mean, that’s no life. You can wait and don’t get started early. You have a chance to be somebody, not just sit around and let your life waste away.’

Despite his absence, Derrick thinks very highly of his old man. He mentions that Henry Sr. has always supported him, tried to be there at every game, and ensured he had better things than him.

Derrick Was Nicknamed Shocka By His Grandma

When Henry Sr. came to Gladys and told him he was having a kid, it shocked her, so she called the child “Shocka.” They were best friends, to say the very least.

Sadly, Gladys is not with us anymore. She departed the world on September 13, 2016, which left Derrick in mourning. Just drafted into the NFL, he could not be there for his grandma.

Born to teenage parents, Derrick Henry was raised by his grandmother Gladys Henry
Derrick and his grandmom were very close.

In addition, words can not describe what Gladys had done to mold her grandson into the man he is today, but he tried. In an article published in The Players’ Tribune, “I Did It, Grandma,” Derrick attempted to tell the story of himself and the late Gladys. He wrote,

You took a piece of me with you when you passed, Grandma. Life just hasn’t been the same since you left. I know you were tired and you were ready to ‘go home,’ as we’d always say. I just wish we would have had more time. I wanted to take care of you. Do things for you. Show my appreciation for everything you did for me.

Although it left a void in his heart, he was glad she was not hurting or suffering anymore. He loves and misses her every day.

Henry’s Coach Was A Father Figure To Him

Given all the trouble at home, Henry found a parent in his middle school football coach, J.T. Medley. As a high school sophomore, the running back started living with Medley. His aunts were unhappy with the decision, but he needed the coach’s help. Without him, Henry would not be where he is now.

Like Medley, one of the coaches, Pat Dunlap, was also a mentor who always guided him. In this way, starting from his late grandparents, many figures have contributed to molding Derrick Henry’s life and career.