Former Bears first-round pick Kevin White signs with 49ers

The seventh overall pick of the 2015 draft is getting another chance at success after a disappointing four-year career with the Bears that was marred by three season-ending injuries.

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Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears

Wide receiver Kevin White (11, making a catch against the Falcons in the 2017 season opener) had 25 receptions for 285 yards and no touchdowns in his four-year career with the Bears.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Former Bears wide receiver Kevin White is back in the NFL. 

White, drafted seventh overall by the Bears in 2015, signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday. White, 28, did not play in the NFL in 2019 after being cut by the Arizona Cardinals, with whom he signed as a free agent after four years with the Bears. 

Somewhat ironically, White’s latest opportunity developed because of injuries that have thinned the 49ers’ wide receiver corps. Deebo Samuel (stress fracture in his foot), 2020 first-round draft pick Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) and Richie James (broken hand) currently are not practicing. And Jalen Hurd, a 2019 third-round pick who missed all of last season with a back injury, was put on injured reserve last week with a knee injury he suffered in training camp.

White surely can feel Hurd’s pain. The former West Virginia standout has had a star-crossed career since becoming Ryan Pace’s initial first-round draft pick as the Bears’ general manager. White has played in just 14 games over five seasons, much of that inactivity due to various injuries that have plagued him since he entered the NFL. He had 25 receptions for 285 yards and no touchdowns in his four-year Bears career. 

White suffered a season-ending injury in each of his first three seasons — a stress fracture in his left shin during OTAs in 2015; a broken left fibula and severe left ankle injury in Week 4 in 2016; and a fractured left shoulder blade (scapula) in the season opener in 2017.

White finally made it through an entire season without major injury under first-year head coach Matt Nagy in 2018, but he was buried on the depth chart in Nagy’s offense. He played in nine games and had four receptions for 92 yards and no touchdowns.

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