BOURBONNAIS — Kevin White is back, still upbeat and still having fun.
“I don’t look at this as a job; I think it takes the fun away from it,” the Bears’ third-year wide receiver said Thursday after practice at Olivet Nazarene University. “So I would just look at it as it’s a game. I love to play it. [I’m] just getting paid to do it. But it was fun to be back out there with the guys and rallying together and going out there to compete.”
The frustration of playing only four games in his first two NFL seasons — after being the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft — has not yet beaten down the 6-3, 216-pound White.
“No, it was actually the opposite,” White said. “You get something taken away from you, you enjoy it more.”
White participated in the opening practice Thursday, and, like every other receiver, he’s still getting acclimated to new quarterbacks. He ended the practice with a nice catch over the middle on a pass from Mark Sanchez on a crossing route, with room to run.
He’s aware of the expectations. White said the message from the Bears and general manager Ryan Pace was pretty simple.
“What everybody else wants to see,” he said, “go out there, have fun, do what I need to do. Pace is always telling me, ‘No pressure.’ I just want to play free, go out there and do what I do best.”
After missing his entire rookie season with a stress fracture, White played in four games last season before he suffered a broken left fibula and severe ankle sprain in a victory over the Lions.
He had 19 receptions for 187 yards (9.8 average) and no touchdowns. His long play was a 32-yard reception against the Cowboys in Week 3, when he caught six passes for 62 yards.
White seems to know he’s at a stage in his career where he needs to prove himself more than talk about proving himself. So his answers to questions from reporters were succinct, as they have been throughout his latest recovery.
What’s his mindset coming into his third NFL training camp — actually his second as an active player — after two frustrating seasons?
“Patient, but with a little bit of urgency,” White said. “Just want to go out there, play, have fun and do my job.”
White said the trip quarterback Mike Glennon organized with the other receivers and rookie Mitch Trubisky was a big hit.
“It was great — the best thing I’ve done collectively [with] a group since I’ve been in the league,” White said. “It was phenomenal — couldn’t have gone any better.
“We bonded, we did everything together. There weren’t any cliques. Everybody was together. We ate together, laughed together. And we put in a lot of good work.”
That could pay dividends in the regular season. But White said he has only one measurement of success this season.
“We win a lot of games,” he said.
Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.