Ex-Bears First-Round Pick Kevin White Gets NFL Tryout With New Team

Kevin White tryout Jets

Getty Former Chicago Bears WR Kevin White has found a new home with the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White has been out of football for over a year, but he could be getting another shot. White had a tryout Thursday with the New York Jets, per the NFL’s waiver wire, which is interesting considering his connection to Jets head coach Adam Gase.

Gase was the offensive coordinator for the Bears in 2015, which was the year Chicago selected White seventh overall in the NFL Draft. Current Jets GM Joe Douglas also served as director of college scouting for the Bears that year, so White has multiple connections in New York. Currently, the Jets receivers include Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, rookie Denzel Mims and veteran Chris Hogan, so White could be an interesting depth signing if he catches on.

White is widely considered to be one of the bigger draft busts in recent memory, but he isn’t giving up on the game, even when it seems the game has given up on him.

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Injuries Severely Impeded Kevin White’s Career

White saw his four-year career afflicted by injuries, including a stress fracture in his leg during his rookie season in 2015, a severe high ankle sprain and a fractured fibula in 2016 and a fractured shoulder blade in 2017. He was healthy during his final season with the Bears in 2018, but he hadn’t earned the trust of new head coach Matt Nagy, and he was used sparingly before being released after the season.

White caught on briefly with the Arizona Cardinals in 2019, singing a one-year deal, but he was released after the injury bug bit again: he got a soft tissue injury, a grade 3 hamstring tear. He tried out with the Lions after that, but after that amounted to nothing, White has been absent from the game. Until now.

White on His Career: ‘It is Kind of a Punch in the Stomach’

In a 2020 interview, White said the following about his injury-plagued past:

“I think I would be able … I would be okay with the injuries if it was like, I knew I was BS’ing,” White told NBC Sports’ J.J. Stankevitz. “If I knew I was partying and getting drunk and smoking weed — like I don’t even smoke weed. If I was doing that I’m, okay, I deserve it. I deserve it. I see why the injuries happen.”

White also told Stankevitz he looks at his injury history as though he got dealt a bad poker hand. Repeatedly: “I got dealt bust cards and can’t cry about it, complain about it. But it is kind of a punch in the stomach where it’s like I got all the talent in the world, done it the right way, like why, God? What am I doing wrong? What do you want me to see out of being hurt year after year after year?”

White said he still gets text messages from ex-Bears coach John Fox telling him to “stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.” We’ll see if Gase and company are ready to take another chance on him.

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