As the Patriots head into a pivotal part of their schedule, there's a chance that they could be missing a key player at some point over the next few weeks and that's because tight end Hunter Henry has decided to put his family first.
Henry and his wife, Parker, are expecting their first child and the baby's due date is in December. Henry revealed this week that if the baby is born on a Patriots' game day, he'll be skipping the game so that he can attend the birth of his first-born.
"That's a tough conversation, but this is my first, man," Henry said, via NESN. "If it had to be a game or seeing my firstborn born, I'm going to go see my child be born. We're going to do our best to not have that come across."
One situation Henry is hoping that he doesn't see is his wife having the baby DURING a Patriots game, because if that happens, Henry might not be able to get to the hospital quickly enough to see the baby's birth, especially if the game is on the road.
"The biggest issue is when the game starts, and then if she goes into labor during the game," Henry said.
"That's where the issue kind of lies. But we're ready, and we have a lot of backup plans to be ready to go."
If Henry does end up missing a game, that means the Patriots would have to play without the guy who currently leads the team in touchdown catches with seven. The tight end also has the third most receptions and fourth-most receiving yards during a year where he's been one Mac Jones' favorite targets.
Between now and the due date, the Patriots will be playing a total of three games. First, they'll be hitting the road to play the Bills this Monday night. After a Week 14 bye, they'll be heading to Indianapolis in Week 15, before returning home to play Buffalo again in Week 16.
"It's kind of getting to crunch time," Henry said. "The baby could come at any time. The due date's the end of this month, but we're kind of in that window now. … It's coming soon, so we'll see."
With the Patriots off in Week 14, Henry is hoping that's the day his son decides to show up.
"Bye week, that's our perfect day," Henry said. "But you know how it goes, it probably won't work out perfect."
Surprisingly, there have actually been quite a few Patriots players who have missed a game in order to attend the birth of a child. In 2019 alone, there were three players with running back James White and linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Shilique Calhoun all missing one game.
If the baby does decide to show up on a game day, it wouldn't be all that surprising since he's already got some NFL experience: His gender was revealed at Gillette Stadium.