By Bryan Dietzler
If you haven’t already heard, the Bears activated 2015 first round draft pick and wide receiver Kevin White from the injured list. What this means is he has 21 days of practice to not be counted as a player on the active roster before the Bears have to decide whether or not to put him on the 53 man roster or keep him on the injured list. This was seen as exciting news by some because it was thought that White still might play yet this season while others feel he isn’t going to play and is going to go back on injured reserve without playing a snap in a live game this year.
Any way you look at it, it would be great if the Bears could have their first round pick out there taking snaps and playing on offense. Having White out there would make the offense that much better. It would give quarterback Jay Cutler another dynamic receiver to throw the ball to. But if White was to get on the field and play just how effective would he be at the outset? He hasn’t spent any time in the offense in a training camp environment or much in a practice environment so he doesn’t know the offense that well. How effective can he be?
At this time, White has just been doing stretching drills and light running along the sidelines during practice over the last few days. In some interviews that he has had with reporters in the locker room after practice he has stated that he feels good for the most part but does admit that there is a little pain and that he feels the screws sometimes from the metal rod they placed in his lower leg so that has to be of some concern for White and the Bears staff. If he still has a little pain then it’s possible he might not be ready to hit the field just yet.
So the question now is will White see the field this season? With a week gone in the 21 day window to have White practice before adding him to the active roster White has not participated in regular drills that wide receiver would normally go through as of yet and may just stick to running and stretching on the sideline for the entirety of his practice time. That would most likely mean that the Bears would add him back to injured reserve if he doesn’t get any good practice reps in with the team. He would be shut down and wouldn’t play this season.
But it’s possible that White could get into more physically demanding and position centric practices in the next few weeks and be ready to play in games two weeks from now. If he progresses, works through the pain and appears ready to go then the Bears might activate him for future games. This next week will be critical to see just what happens with White in practice and how that might predict what is going to happen to him in the future.
It is this writer’s belief that the Bears are going to let White practice and work with the team albeit most likely in stretching and light running drills the rest of the time his practice window is open. After the practice window closes, or slightly before, I believe that the Bears will put White back on injured reserve and let him get healthy over the next few months so that he is ready to start the offseason workouts in 2016.
But what a thrill it would be to have White on the field the same time that the Bears have Alshon Jeffery out there. That would give them two top targets to throw the ball to and give Cutler more options to throw to. White has the speed to stretch the defense and could really be an asset in the passing game. Teams would have to worry about two solid pass catching threats at the wide receiver position and they wouldn’t be able to cover both effectively. It would open up the passing game and make an already decent passing attack that much better.
It’s probably just not meant to be for White this year. You can expect him to continue practicing for the remainder of his 21 day window but when that is done the Bears will most assuredly put him on injured reserve. White will be back and healthy for the 2016 season and we should get a better look at him then.