Kevin White has played a total of four games in two seasons due to injury. It’s now or never for the first-round pick.
After participating in OTAs on Tuesday, White was asked by reporters if he’s motivated by some calling him a “bust.”
“It’s gotta happen now. I gotta turn it up. For me, year three, it’s time,” White said, via the team’s official Twitter account.
After the Bears made him the No. 7 overall pick in 2015, the West Virginia product missed his entire rookie campaign with a fractured left tibia. He then missed the final 12 games in 2016 due to fibula and ankle damage to the same leg.
White entered the NFL with the size/speed combo to be a difference-making weapon. Injuries wiped away the first two seasons. In four games played, White averaged 4.75 catches and 46.75 yards with zero touchdowns. The 24-year-old wideout isn’t fretting critics.
“If you say I won’t be able to score a touchdown or get 100 yards in a game, that won’t affect how I’m going to play,” he said, per Zach Zaidman of the Bears Radio Network.
The Bears added Victor Cruz to a receiving corps full of second-fiddle talents behind White. Cameron Meredith showed promised last season, free-agent acquisition Markus Wheaton is inconsistent, Kendall Wright has been up and down in his career and Rueben Randle is still hanging on. Deonte Thompson, Josh Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, Titus Davis, Tanner Gentry and Jhajuan Seales round out the group scrapping for a roster spot.
The Bears need White to stay healthy and become the No. 1 receiver of the group in 2017. On Tuesday, he stuck up for the rest of his corps.
None have as much to prove as White. And it starts with staying healthy.