On Thursday the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have added free agent wide receiver Cody White to their practice squad, filling the void left by backup nose tackle Dan McCullers, who has been signed by the Chicago Bears.
White had a workout with Pittsburgh in August, but the Steelers chose to sign wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud instead, a decision vindicated by the fact that McCloud is now Pittsburgh’s No. 1 kickoff returner. But White apparently impressed the Steelers brass enough to have him back for a visit earlier this week, which led to the signing.
Cody White Has NFL Bloodlines
It doesn’t hurt that White’s father, Sheldon White, played six seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals after being a third-round pick of the Giants in 1988.
At his press conference this past Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that having a parent, brother or other relative who played in the NFL can be an asset.
“Your dad’s exposure, your brother’s exposure, doesn’t make plays for you,” Tomlin said, “but it does educate you and hopefully raises the floor.
“Just in terms of the lineage aspect, I think a lot can be benefitted just from being around the game at this level and having those close to you have experience in the game,” he added. “I think there’s less unknowns when you come from the circumstances of some of those people. I think they have a better perspective of the challenges that lie ahead, and I think all of that allows them to work more efficiently, to be surprised less, and to be generally prepared from the neck up in terms of meeting the challenges.”
While Tomlin was speaking in relation to J.J. Watt and his brothers T.J. and Derek Watt, it’s fair to say the same applies to White, who played collegiately at Michigan State.
Certainly, White has already experienced how difficult it can be to get a foothold in the NFL. After going undrafted in April, White signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an UDFA, but was waived in late July and went on to sign with the New York Giants. He lasted less than a week with the Giants and then had a tryout with the Denver Broncos on August 21, who signed him two days later. However, he failed to make Denver’s opening day roster and was waived by the Broncos on September 5th.
Cody White’s College Career (Michigan State)
White played in 35 games for the Spartans, finishing his college career seventh in MSU history with 143 receptions, ahead of former T10 NFL draft picks like Charles Rodgers (Detroit Lions) and Plaxico Burress (Pittsburgh Steelers/New York Giants), the latter of whom the Steelers selected eighth overall in the 2000 NFL Draft.
White wrapped up his Michigan State career 12th all-time in receiving yards and tied for 16th all-time in pass receiving TDs. He had 66 catches for 922 yards and six touchdowns during his final collegiate season.
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