Column: The unfortunate career of Kevin White

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2016, file photo, Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White watches from the sideline during the second half of the team's NFL preseason football game against the Denver Broncos, in Chicago. White suffered a broken collarbone against the Atlanta Falcons and will go on injured reserve for the third straight season. (AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim, File)

When wide receiver Kevin White was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft, he was supposed to become a superstar the franchise could build around. But White injured his shoulder in the Bears’ season opener and will be placed on injured reserve for the third time in three seasons.

White will have surgery on his shoulder blade which was fractured when he was tackled by Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley in the fourth quarter. The play ended White’s game at two receptions for six yards and will most likely end his season as well.

The story of Kevin White is extremely unfortunate. A 6-foot-3 body with a 4.35 40-yard dash time and 23 reps on the combine bench press, he was a highly-rated NFL prospect coming out of West Virginia. He was considered to be a project-type player, since he only had two years of experience in the Big 12.

Before attending West Virginia and proceeding to catch 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns in his senior season, White went to school at Lackawanna College. His grades weren’t high enough for a Division I scholarship and junior college gave him an opportunity to prove his worth while focusing on academics.

White eventually got everything together, and after two years at Lackawanna, he received offers from Texas Tech and West Virginia. He worked his way into the NFL; his story is a great compelling one about a kid who almost dropped out of junior college.

But White has only played in five games in his first three NFL seasons, with 21 receptions for 193 yards and zero touchdowns.

The media certainly hasn’t helped White’s image. Besides the normal pressure placed on a high draft pick, White has been heavily doubted because of his inability to stay healthy. This offseason, a story surfaced, saying White was watching film of his West Virginia days because he lacked confidence in himself. White denied this was the reason for the film session and tweeted out a response.

(Print only) “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see..” White tweeted in early August.

(Online only) https://twitter.com/mrkevinwhite/status/892733307397582848

White’s contract will end after this season and he’ll be a free agent without much game film to back him up. If he gets back to full health after the surgery, some team is probably going to take a chance on him by signing him for cheap.

High draft picks bust relatively frequently, but they usually get the chance to perform. Trent Richardson could be considered the biggest bust in recent memory; Richardson showed for years that he wasn’t an NFL-caliber running back. White hasn’t had much of an opportunity to prove his worth to Chicago’s fans, and yet he still get criticized by the entire country.

Personally, I believe White will have a decent run in the league. It’s hard to come back from three straight years of injuries, and maybe I’m just a sucker for a good story, but I think a new team will serve him well.

White may never live up to his draft pedigree. But a new city, a fresh start with no expectations and maybe even a new training staff will help.


Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.