Bears' White Stays In Moment Amid Uncertain Future

Bears receiver Kevin White
Photo credit Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- The Bears needing a play, receiver Kevin White was ready when his number was called Sunday. 

Late in the first quarter of Chicago's 24-10 win at Minnesota, White lined up in the slot on third-and-6 and matched with Vikings Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith in man coverage. He made a quick cut on a post route, turned his body toward the football and pulled it in while falling back against his team's sideline.

The even-keeled White's emotion was clear after his helmet had fallen off, and the excitement his team felt was evident too. The Bears know what all he has been through in fighting for the chances like that.

"Long time coming," White said.

Four full regular seasons have passed now, and the 2015 first-round pick White has just 25 receptions, 285 yards and no touchdowns in his career. White missed his entire rookie season in 2015 with a stress fracture in his left shin, suffered a fractured left fibula four games into the 2016 season and a broken clavicle in the 2017 opener. What potential the Bears saw in White was eroded by injuries.

This season, White has been healthy, but it became clear the Bears had moved on already. They added receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel in free agency this past March and traded back into the second round for rookie Anthony Miller, all of whom rank higher on the depth chart. Receiver Josh Bellamy, a key special teams player, has played all 16 games.

There hasn't been a place for White, who has been a healthy scratch seven times this season, managing only four receptions for 92 yards on his eight targets -- including the 22-yard reception over Smith on Sunday.

White has gotten through a new challenge this season with the kind of positive outlook his team has come to appreciate.

"Can't complain about it and keep dwelling on the past because it gets you nowhere," White said. "Having a positive outlook on it, continue to work hard. Whenever I get my opportunity, make the most of it. 

"(Football) is very small compared to what other people are going through in the world. It's a game. I'm blessed. Eventually the tides will turn."

The Bears drafted White seventh overall in 2015 with the hopes he could be a key piece to their success. Here they are 12-4 and preparing for a wild-card game against the Eagles on Sunday, and White may be inactive once again if Robinson (ribs), Gabriel (ribs) and Miller (left shoulder) are able to play as expected.

The tide could turn for White in 2019 -- but likely somewhere other than Chicago. He's set to become a free agent this offseason after the Bears declined his fifth-year option set for $13.924 million. 

Having watched his Bears struggle in the previous three seasons, White has enjoyed being part of their playoff push. He's living in the moment here after a difficult past and uncertain future.

"Different role for me," he said. "But we're winning, we're in the playoffs. We're all brothers in this locker room. I do my job when my number's called. That's all I can do.

"I'm not really worried about (the future) right now. I just want to enjoy this ride, have fun with my guys, do my part and hopefully go all the way."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​​