Kevin White’s tragic time with Bears is why he’s not done with football yet

Kevin White’s tragic time with Bears is why he’s not done with football yet

The most tragic part of Kevin White’s story, to me, is that he battled through three serious injuries — and three grueling rehabs — and has nothing to show for it. 

Sure, White has millions of dollars. According to Spotrac, he earned $16,827,686 from football. That’s a heck of lot more than most people will make in a lifetime. 

“It’s not about the god damn money,” White said. “If it was about the god damn money I would’ve been retired, I would’ve quit. It’s not about the damn money.”

Money makes things easier, White acknowledged. But, as he put it: “I want the thing that’s gonna last forever.”

The thing that’s gonna last forever is a game-winning touchdown. Or a highlight-reel catch. Or a thousand-yard season. Something for fans to remember Kevin White by other than being a bust

The closest White came was the Hail Mary he caught against the Patriots in 2018 — the one where he came one yard short of scoring a game-tying touchdown as time expired. He had 25 catches for 285 yards and, most importantly here, zero touchdowns in 14 games with the Bears. 

“I just wish I could’ve gave the city of Chicago the talent that they drafted,” White said. “That’s what I was fighting so hard for — I gotta show the fans. If I could at least show the fans? Chicago, don’t pay me. Pay me zero dollars.

“But I need to show the fans. I have to. I have to. I need to. I feel like that would’ve made me happy and been like okay, at least I gave them one year.”

White is still chasing that moment. It’s why he hasn’t given up on his NFL career yet. He takes to heart what his old coach, John Fox, still texts him: “Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready, K-White.”

White, on one hand, deserves that opportunity. It’s remarkably cruel White had such awful luck with injuries, spent years of his life rehabbing them and then never even could relish the moment of scoring a touchdown in the regular season. 

All White wanted was to show who he could be as a football player to the city of Chicago. It’s not a vengeful thing or anything malicious — even though his last year with the Bears did leave a bad taste in his mouth. 

“I got to Arizona, all I’m thinking about is Chicago. That’s home,” White said. “That’ll forever be home whether fans or organization like it or not. I want to show the city of Chicago, like, damn this guy is it. Or like holy crap, this dude fought injury after injury and now he’s — because I want to show Chicago, to be honest. 

“Not the organization, necessarily, that’s business stuff. Ryan Pace and Foxy, I do. But definitely the fans. I do. Because I feel like they deserve it and there’s a lot of good people in Chicago, a lot of good people in the organization that deserve to see Kevin White.”

MORE: Why Kevin White feels cheated by football

On the other hand, White’s revelation he checked out during the 2018 season certainly is known in coaching circles. Checking out on a 12-4, NFC North-winning team does not reflect well among the people who might give White another shot. 

And White did finally have an opportunity to get that moment in 2018. While his chances were limited, he didn’t deliver.

White is still chasing another chance, though. It’s not a second chance; he had that in Arizona. It’s probably not even a third chance, since he tried out — unsuccessfully — for the Lions last fall. Fourth chances are exceedingly rare in the NFL. 

But White didn’t battle back from a 2015 stress fracture that resulted in the first surgery of his life to have nothing to show for it. 

He didn’t deal with the crushing mental and physical blow of fracturing his fibula and spraining his ankle in 2016 only to have nothing to show for it. 

He didn’t fight through a rare fractured scapula in 2017 to only have nothing to show for it. 

And it’s why he’s not ready to give up on football. The odds may be stacked against him, but he sounded like he’s going to keep chasing a shot at that moment — the moment that’ll last forever. 

“That’s what I’m training for,” White said. “I can’t control it. I can’t say oh, Green Bay, come get me and let me — I can’t. I’m not in control of that. Do I think (everyone) will (see it)? Yes. When? I don’t know. But I’m going to get it done for them. I got to. 

“I got to.”

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Bears' offense ranks among the NFL's worst analytically, new study finds

Bears' offense ranks among the NFL's worst analytically, new study finds

The Bears' offense was bad last year. I know that. You know that. The Bears (hopefully?) know that. 

But *extremely 30 For 30 voice* what if I told you just how bad they really were? Would you be interested in that? You wouldn't be? Sorry, got a quota to hit. 

In a fascinating new study written by Rotoworld's Hayden Weeks, the lack of modern wrinkles in Chicago's offense are made painstakingly clear. Weeks took an analytically-slanted look at every NFL offense, and friends, it's a rough read: 

4th Down Aggressiveness: 23rd
Pass Rate on Early Downs: 9th
Pass Rate While Trailing: 13th
Play-Action Rate: 27th
Downfield Pass Rate: 16th
Middle of the Field Pass Rate: 5th
Pre-Snap Motion Percentage: 30th
Outside Run Rate: 20th
Shotgun Run Rate: 5th
Offensive Pace: 22nd

Overall, Weeks ranks the Bears as the 22nd best offense in football based on the above metrics. If there's any hope whatsoever, it comes from his short write up of Nagy's offense – but still, temper your expectations: 

If I incorporated the front office, the Bears would be much lower, but I think Nagy holds his own in terms of in-game analytics usage. He’s just been dealt a horrible hand at quarterback and with the offensive line. Nagy opted for a decent pass rate on early downs (9th) and while trailing (13th), plus uses shotgun a lot and targets the middle of the field (5th). There are a few things holding him back from jumping into Tier 3, however. The Bears weren’t aggressive enough on fourth downs (23rd) and didn't use play action (27th) or pre-snap motion (30th) nearly enough. Maybe the quarterback change sparks change.

Bears: Use play action! Just try it! I promise you'll like it. 

Did Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' mega-deal actually leave money on table?

Did Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' mega-deal actually leave money on table?

Patrick Mahomes forever altered the sports contract landscape with his landmark 10-year, $450 million extension that became official this week. It made all the sense in the world to lock up the 2018 MVP whose team could very easily be coming off back-to-back Super Bowl titles if not for a nail-biting loss to the eventual-champion Patriots in the 2019 AFC Championship game. But Brad Spielberger, who does extensive salary cap research and writing for, believes Mahomes could have massively cashed in again if he took a different approach to these negotiations

Coming in, we knew this was going to be a groundbreaking deal in some respects... I really didn’t think he was going to give up that many years of control – it’s basically a lifetime contract. Again, I know it’s maybe up to half a billion dollars, so it sounds crazy to maybe question his thinking there, but in 5, 6, 7 years down the road, he probably could have gotten another deal that would have made this one look small in comparison.

Every team in the league would love this deal… every front office in the NFL would say, the fact that they have this much time on this deal is the best part about it. Again, it’s a monstrous deal and there are outs at certain points so it’s not so strict as to say he can’t get out of it or he can’t work with it. If I’m his agent, I would push for 5 years, $200M fully guaranteed; let’s go mega-Kirk Cousins on steroids, let’s change the game, and then let’s see if we can sign a deal for $50M a year when that one runs out.

The scenario painted there is an interesting one, and might have allowed Mahomes to reset the quarterback market twice in a decade… but we’ll never know. For more from Spielberger, including how the Mahomes deal impacts the Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson negotiations and what the Bears’ offseason moves tell him about the mindset of Ryan Pace’s front office, listen to the most recent edition of the Under Center podcast here or below.