White hopes third time’s a charm
Myles White had a decision to make last summer after the second-year receiver didn’t make the Green Bay Packers’ 53-man roster coming out of training camp.
He could re-sign onto the Packers’ practice squad or try his hand elsewhere in the NFL.
After a long discussion with his agent, White felt there was still opportunity in Green Bay and told him he wanted to stay.
“It was a tough decision,” White said. “My agent and I had discussed that. I really wanted to stay here because I felt like there was still opportunity here. I love playing here, man. This is the top program in the NFL. I don’t want to leave here. I know a Super Bowl is coming and I want to be a part of it.”
Unlike his rookie season when he played in seven games for an injured Randall Cobb, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound receiver didn’t receive a call-up to the main roster in 2014. White didn’t lose his motivation, though.
Now, he’s back hoping for a breakthrough in his third camp in Green Bay. So far, White’s catching everything that’s been thrown to him, and Saturday night’s Family Night event in front of 67,191 was no exception.
White hauled in a pair of passes from Scott Tolzien and also caught a slant from Aaron Rodgers in team period. He closed Thursday’s no-huddle period with a 16-yard touchdown catch and had perhaps his finest catch of camp on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Tolzien over cornerback LaDarius Gunter on Monday.
White put on a few pounds this offseason in hopes of being more of a threat after the catch. He caught nine passes in 2013, but averaged only 9.3 yards per catch. White beefed all the way up to 197 pounds in the spring before cutting down to 195, which was up about 5 pounds from last year.
“I just wanted to be able to be strong enough to break some tackles in this league,” White said. “Me and EB (Edgar Bennett), my offensive coordinator, had many discussions about just trying to be a runner after catch guy. You have to be able to run through some things.”
Competition at receiver continued to grow this offseason. The Packers drafted Stanford’s Ty Montgomery in the third round in this year’s draft and signed five undrafted free agents.
It hasn’t bothered White. After what he felt was a lackluster spring, White has risen up the depth chart over the past week following injuries to receiver Jared Abbrederis (concussion), Adrian Coxson (concussion) and Ricky Collins (heel).
“I think in the spring I kind of struggled a little bit catching the ball and I made a big emphasis on it in my offseason program to try to catch the ball,” White said. “I’m just trying to focus in and execute when I have the opportunity.”
A fourth receiver, Javess Blue, appeared to be favoring his left arm after colliding with a non-player on the sideline in an early team period. Both were taken to the locker room. Packers coach Mike McCarthy didn’t provide an update after practice.
The top four receivers are looks to make the roster – Thompson never has cut a third-round rookie and Montgomery has looked the part so far – but it seems probable the Packers will keep at least five at the position.
Second-year receiver Jeff Janis has big-play potential, but not off to the same blazing start he got off to as a rookie. With four other receivers sidelined, White has no shortage of reps to show what the past two years in Green Bay have taught him.
White hopes his added strength translates to versatility. He has one year left of practice-squad eligibility, but it’s his goal to not have to use it. With the preseason opener in New England only days away, the time to shine is now.
“It was definitely tough,” said White of last season. “I’m a competitor and I want to play. Getting a taste of it my rookie year and having to fall back, it wasn’t my time. Just trying to stay here as long as I can.”
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.