By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — Bears receiver Kevin White does his best to tune out the noise, but he’s well aware of the talk that exists.
After two surgeries on the same left leg and just four games played his first two NFL seasons, many are ready to label him as a bust. He paused upon the word being presented to him after Tuesday’s practice at Halas Hall.
“Everybody’s got their own opinion,” White said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
White is back to work with the Bears after missing last Tuesday’s work in OTAs. That absence raised eyebrows because coach John Fox didn’t elaborate on White’s status and wouldn’t say whether he would be practicing in the offseason program.
Because of White’s injury history, concern was natural as he missed practice. But a week later, he was active within the offense.
“I’m comfortable with everything,” White said. “Whatever I have to do, that’s what I’ll do. Other than that, it’s their call upstairs.”
White was injured in the Bears’ fourth game of last season when he was tackled awkwardly around his left leg. He suffered a fractured left tibia and severe ankle sprain. His second season ended on injured reserve, just like the first. White’s rookie year never got off the ground after an offseason stress fracture required surgery.
The Bears are hoping White can become the player they envisioned when drafting him seventh overall in 2015. He was brought in to be the complement to Alshon Jeffery. Now, Jeffery is in Philadelphia and Chicago is looking for answers at receiver.
“He’s a big body, he’s fast, he’s got good catch radius,” Bears quarterback Mike Glennon said. “It’s just got to all come together, and I think it will once he plays. He hasn’t had a big opportunity to play. Once he gets out there, I think he’s gonna do a lot of good things.”
After losing Jeffery, the Bears added Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton and Victor Cruz at receiver — veterans looking to find better form and produce more than they did last year. Those veterans could also be insurance policies on White.
Still, White is just another Bears receiver out to prove himself. The difference between him and a Cruz or Wright is there’s no proven past on which he can fall back.
“It’s got to happen now,” he said. “I got to turn it up.”
“For me, year three, it’s time.”