Kevin White’s good day at camp overshadowed by college-film contention
BOURBONNAIS — Wide receiver Kevin White decided to make an example out of the media. Or rather, he used media members to make a point.
“Like if I would tell you a secret,” White said as he pointed to one reporter, “and by the time it got across through everybody, and it gets to me, it wouldn’t be the same.”
OK, what’s going on?
A story that new wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni shared Monday about watching White’s highlight film from West Virginia didn’t happen in the way the media thought it had.
White made that clear Wednesday, starting with an early message on Twitter. But in doing so, he overshadowed his own impressive day at training camp, while also proving his coach right.
On Monday, Azzanni said “me and him watched his West Virginia highlight film again.” It was inferred that it was a one-on-one situation — a teaching moment between coach and player — but it wasn’t.
It apparently wasn’t even Azzanni’s idea; he was only in the room.
“As far as the college film, that was among players — me, Kendall Wright, Victor Cruz,” White said. “It was actually Kendall’s idea to watch each other’s college film since we had a little time off. Watched mine, then watched Kendall’s, then watched Victor Cruz when he was with the Giants. As far as that goes, that’s all I know.”
But with White being a first-round pick who hasn’t played much because of injuries, Azzanni’s story went viral. And the headlines didn’t look good for White.
Said NBC’s Pro Football Talk: “Bears trying to remind Kevin White he was once good at football.”
All of it seemed to frustrate White. He was terse with certain topics, one being Azzanni.
Reporter: “What is coach Azzanni doing for you right now?”
White: “Coaching me like everybody else.”
Reporter: “Do you feel like he’s given you a boost at all?”
White: “As far as . . .’’
Reporter: “Just helping you get better . . . specific areas that he’s dialed in on with you, kind of pushing you forward.”
White: “I think everyone as a staff is helping me and everyone else get better.”
Reporter: “Did you take exception to the film story?”
White: “What story?”
The problem is this has become a bigger “story” than it should be. The best-case scenario is that any issues are solely with the media. Coach John Fox did snidely remark that “you guys took that [story from Azzanni] and ran.”
But White’s own reaction also speaks to the pressure he’s feeling after playing only four games in his first two seasons.
Azzanni’s ability to coach and connect with White, the seventh pick in the 2015 draft, matters plenty. Azzanni is White’s third position coach in as many seasons after Mike Groh (left for the Rams) and Curtis Johnson (Saints).
Earlier, White shared an interesting message on Twitter: “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.”
“It was just a quote,” White said. “Some people may take a story and run with it, and it wasn’t true. That’s just how I feel about some things, some people.”
Instead of a particular story, White said it was “just general stuff” that prompted his message.
But White’s Twitter post and subsequent exchanges with the media point to some of the concerns that Azzanni expressed when it came to his ability to block out the “noise.”
“He’s got to be positive, and we’ve got to go in our bunker in there,” Azzanni said. “I’ve got to tell him how great he is all the time because he is.”
The Bears need White’s focus on the field. That wasn’t the case Wednesday despite how well he played in practice.
What did White get out of watching his college film?
“Just reminiscing,” White said. “Nothing.”
Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.