Kevin White is ready to go. He’s just waiting for the Bears to turn him loose.
“If it was up to me, I would be out there. I want to be practicing tomorrow,” the rookie wide receiver from West Virginia said Friday. “But it’s not my call. I’ve got to follow the rules.
“I feel I can play. But you’ve got to look at the coaches, trainers and if they say, ‘Kevin, give it another week,’ that’s what I have to do. Hopefully we’ll get some good news and hopefully I’ll be back out there very soon.”
White, the seventh overall pick in the April draft, has missed the spent the first two weeks of training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list because of a shin injury he suffered in the offseason program. He has missed 11 practices and the Bears’ preseason opener, a 27-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night at Soldier Field.
Even when acknowledged he expected to be practicing by now when the Bears casually announced July 29 that he would start camp on the PUP list. But all he can do is follow orders, and the Bears are being extremely patient with his recovery.
“I thought in the [NFL] they’d rush you back —I guess [you should] never just a book by it’s cover,” White said. “They’re taking their time. Whenever they do want me to play, I’ll be ready.”
White has not spoken to the media at training camp while he has been on the PUP list. He spoke to reporters Friday at a promotional event on Michigan Ave. for BirchboxMan, a leading beauty and grooming retailer. He appeared in good spirits and signed autographs and chatted with fans at the event.
White said he does not have a stress fracture. “It was something with the shin, like coach Fox said. They’re calling this a shin,” White said. He did not think the injury was that serious during OTAs.
“I was fine. I felt fine,” White said. “And the coaches said ‘Ehhhh, let’s sit you down for a little bit.’ That’s kind of where I’m at with it. ‘OK, coach, if you say so.’ But I’ll be fine. I’m ready to go.”
The Bears are moving slowly in White’s rehabilitation. He started camp doing pool exercises to build up his cardiovascular system. Last week he was running hard on the sideline and catching passes from back-up quarterback David Fales. He might graduate to another level this week, but even he doesn’t know.
Though he feels ready to play, he could not say for certain if he’ll be ready to play in the season opener against the Packers on Sept. 13 at Soldier Field. He’s sticking to the company line.
“It’s still a day-to-day kind of thing,” White said. “I’ll meet with the coaching staff and see what the plan is. But we haven’t met in awhile and talked about it. [They’ve] just kind of been letting me be to myself.
“[But] I’m not worried. Just got to take it day-by-day like I’ve been doing and stay focused and when I’m out there I want to light it up.”
Skeptical Bears fans are fearing the worst. Though White sounded confident he’ll be practicing soon, he could not definitely talk fans off the ledge.
“I wish I could,” he said. “But I’ll leave that to the coaches to explain. I’m just a player. My job is to play. I’m planning on doing good things for a very long time. So when I’m out there playing, I’ll try to make the fans proud and happy and excited to continue to watch us play.
“As far as what to tell them, right now — I can’t. Coach is going to have to tell them: ‘Ok, Kevin is ready to go to camp tomorrow.’ But if it was up to me, I would be out there as a player. But it’s up to the coach. whatever they want, then that’s what they want.”