Kevin White Says He Has to 'Turn It Up' in 3rd Year of NFL Career

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2017

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) breaks up a pass attempt intended or Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White (13) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/Associated Press

Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White acknowledged he has to improve his quality of play heading into his third NFL season.

"It's gotta happen now," he said, per the team's official Twitter account. "I gotta turn it up. For me, year three, it's time."

He also put out a challenge to the rest of the team's receiving corps, per Zach Zaidman of the Bears Radio Network:

The Bears are still waiting for the impact they were hoping for when they made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

For White, 24, injuries have derailed his first two seasons in the league. A fractured left tibia cost him his entire rookie season, while he was able to play in just four games last year after suffering "fibula and ankle damage" to the same leg, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com.

In turn, he caught just 19 passes for 187 yards and no touchdowns last season. So a healthy and productive third season for White is paramount.

"I've just got to train the body again, fixing things, correcting things, and just getting back to it," White noted, per Zaidman.

With Alshon Jeffery now in Philadelphia after leaving the Bears in free agency, the team needs White to become a game-changing wideout. He'll lead a wide receiver group that also includes Victor Cruz, Cameron Meredith, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright and Rueben Randle. Outside of the veteran Cruz—similarly injury-prone, it should be noted—and the promising Meredith, those players proved inconsistent or underwhelming with their previous teams.

Add in a new quarterback starting for the team this season—either free-agent signee Mike Glennon or No. 2 overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky—and the amount of turnover in Chicago's passing game has been substantial. If White can provide the big-play potential that inspired the Bears to draft him in the first place, he could take a lot of pressure off the team's offense.