BOCA RATON, Fla. – As the 2015 season wound down, Kevin White was permitted a number of practices with the team before a decision had to be made on his injury status. When the Bears fell to 5-8 with their Dec. 13 loss to the Washington Redskins, that decision was to shut White down for the remainder of the year two days later.
But not before White had made a stunning impression on teammates, particularly quarterback Jay Cutler, with his speed and what his potential was in the Bears offense.
White is now fully recovered from the stress fracture and resulting surgery to his left shin. The result is the anticipated participation of White in the Bears’ offseason, perhaps the best news of this year for the Bears’ offense.
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"He's 100 percent healthy, so now, it's just him, that mental confidence to go full speed,” Bears GM Ryan Pace said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think he's there. He's got the biggest smile on his face because I think he's eager to show everybody what he can do. So we're fired up about that.”
The challenge with White now is not his rehab, but his eagerness, which was in evidence late last season as he practiced with the hope of being put on the active roster late in the season.
“As we get into the offseason program, we’ll probably have to [carefully focus him],” Pace said. “I mean, it’s good to have a player that you have to pull back more than you have to push. He’s one of those guys you’ve got to pull back a little bit just because of his attitude.”
Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.
According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.
The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.
For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.
Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.
The Chicago Bears will kick off the fourth season of "Meet the Rookies" on June 25, a series that profiles four of the team's 2018 draft picks for a behind-the-scenes look at their journey to the NFL.
The four-episode series will air on ChicagoBears.com at 7:00 p.m from June 25 - 28 and will feature one rookie per night.
Monday's episode will cover the Bears' first-round pick, Roquan Smith. Selected with the eighth-overall pick, Smith is expected to become an instant-impact player on defense. He's expected to make an impact off the field, too, as a high-character leader. Smith's linebacker-mate Joel Iyiegbuniwe is the focus of Tuesday's episode, with Anthony Miller (Wednesday) and James Daniels (Thursday) rounding out Season 4.
For a deeper dive into what's in store in "Meet the Rookies," check out this description.