A frustrating year marked by a stress fracture and the accompanying rehab have not squelched the hope of rookie wide receiver Kevin White that the No. 7 pick of the 2015 draft will see the field in a Bears uniform this season.
“If I can get on the field this year and we can make a run for it, I would like to help my teammates and this organization out, as planned,” White said on Tuesday. “If not this year, then try my best and do what I can for next year.
“But [I am] not closing any doors, not saying that I’m not coming back or anything this year. There’s a chance, so do my best to try to make a comeback.”
White admitted he has “a ways to go” and that he was not doing a lot beyond jogging, last week and this. But as far as moving on to thinking about next year, no. “It’s like giving up,” White scoffed. “I would never give up. There’s a chance. I would like it. Everybody else would like it. But if not, then I’ll look forward to next year.”
Rookies White, Eddie Goldman, Khari Lee, Cameron Meredith and Gannon Sinclair volunteered time on Tuesday to help with “Hometown Huddle” work at Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center, and the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center, both in Gurnee.
“It really opens your eyes to things going on around you throughout the world,” said Lee. “So it’s good to be able to do something to help out, because it’s really important.”
White was placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform lost at the end of training camp. The designation allowed the Bears some latitude in assessing his progress back from the stress fracture, which occurred during the team’s offseason program.
The Bears have several weeks to activate White from reserve/PUP and until the end of Week 11 to decide on whether to activate him as part of the 53-man roster or close him out for 2015 and look forward to 2016.
GM Ryan Pace, coach John Fox and the organization have put zero pressure on White to rush back from the surgery, something not lost on the rookie.
“Even though it’s a business,” White said, shaking his head, “just to see that side of those guys, not rushing me back for selfish reasons, made me go harder, give it my all each and every day, even though I would do that for myself.
“But just to have those guys behind me, it means a lot.”
The fracture is the first significant injury and first surgery White has endured, and it was difficult for him beyond just the injury itself. White wasn’t able to walk and take care of making meals for himself immediately following surgery, so his mother Tammy stayed with him for several weeks.
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“She did a lot of the dirty work, fed me, made sure I was comfortable, made sure I was taking the pills,” White said. “Mom had a lot to do with it.”
White will need to show marked improvement over the next several weeks in order to convince the organization that a return this season makes any sense.
“Sometimes it’s tough and some days are better than others, but there’s progress,” White said. “Slow and steady wins the race so that’s what I’m going to do.”