Henry's b-day celebrated

Monday was May 17.

So his family decided to celebrate Chris Henry's 27th birthday instead of mourn it and they all gathered together for the first time since the Dec. 22 funeral in New Orleans.

"Chris always liked to take us all out to dinner and that's what we're going to do tonight," said Leatric Hollis, his aunt, Monday afternoon. "We wanted to be with his children so we're here in Charlotte."

Charlotte, N.C. is where the Bengals wide receiver died and where his fiancée, Loleini Tonga, and their children live. It is where on Monday, Tonga showed the scrapbook she is building to memorialize her children's father and the man she was to marry in March. It contains a riveting comeback story of a troubled player that turned his life around off the field with a woman's love and team's support.

The family also is still following Bengals headlines and not in small part because of the recent addition of cornerback Adam Jones, Henry's teammate at West Virginia. If there was anyone more troubled than Henry with off-field problems, it was Jones. It is not lost on the family that Jones is getting his second chance on the same team and Hollis thinks that's why it's going to work.

"I've known Adam since we met him at West Virginia and if he gets the same support that Chris did, I think he can do it," Hollis said. "The Bengals are awesome. They went above and beyond giving Chris the structure that he never really had and Adam had a similar background growing up in Atlanta. I think he's like Chris in that he'll be able to turn it around."

The irony goes even deeper. Jones' trainer that got him in shape for the second Bengals workout set up his shop in New Orleans, Henry's hometown.

"I didn't get a chance to see him but I spoke to him," Hollis said. "Now we've got a reason to go up to Cincinnati and watch the Bengals play. Chris learned that you can't take everybody with you when you make it and it sounds like Adam is understanding the same thing."

Henry's birthday was also not forgotten out in Hollywood, where Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco greeted the day tweeting Happy Birthday. He also sent a message just before he went on stage for the Final Four of ABC's Dancing With The Stars:

"Showtime in 8 minutes, going HAM tonight in memory of Chris Slim Henry R.I.P. #15 happy birthday bruh, smile on me 2night 85 15=100ways."

Then after what could be his last dance of the show, he paused in the interview to wish a happy birthday to "Chris Slim Henry, rest in peace."   

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