ORLANDO, Fla. – Matt Nagy knows all about receiver Kevin White's injury history. But the first-year Bears coach plans to give the 2015 first-round pick every chance to excel.
White has missed 43 of 48 games in three seasons with the Bears due to a series of injuries. He sat out his entire rookie year with a stress fracture in his leg, broke his fibula in the fourth game in 2016 and fractured his scapula in last year's season opener.
"I am really excited to dig deep into him and put him in the best situation possible for Kevin White to succeed," Nagy told reporters this week at the NFL owners meetings. "Here is a guy we have on our roster that to a lot of people can get lost in the shuffle or just pushed to the side. That's not going to happen. We're going to give him every opportunity to succeed."
On the rare occasions White has been healthy, he has shown the traits that convinced the Bears to select him with the seventh pick in the 2015 draft. He opened the 2016 season with 19 receptions in the first four games, the most ever by a Bears player in his first four NFL contests.
White appeared to be well on the road to recovery last summer in training camp but once again sustained a serious injury when he was sandwiched by two Falcons tacklers in the season opener.
WR Kevin White catches a pass during a 2017 preseason game.
"We were seeing signs of him coming on," said general manager Ryan Pace. "I think for a player to cut loose and play fast, he has to be comfortable in the offense that he's in. That's a process for Kevin because he has been unable to sustain consistent weeks like that. If we can keep him healthy—he's on the right pace right now—we're excited about that.
"I know Matt is excited to work with him. Kevin is a very resilient guy. We're just excited to see him come into the offseason healthy and ready to cut loose and learn this offense."
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, White is clearly determined to salvage his career. Earlier this offseason he spent some time in California, working out, running routes and bonding with Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
"He's working really hard to get back and I've got a lot of faith in what he's going to be able to bring to the table this year," Trubisky said at the time on the Bears All-Access radio show on WBBM 780 AM and 105.9 FM. "He's looking good while we're throwing together out here. He's busting his tail to really do big things this year."
It seems everyone loves a comeback story, and Nagy is no different.
"How cool would that be to be able to get this kid to come back and be a dominant player?" said the new Bears coach. "You think he doesn't want that? Of course he wants that. So let's as coaches look at the glass half full and let's get this kid right. Now am I making any promises? Absolutely not. But I will tell you this, we're going to give that kid every opportunity possible."
Pace is confident that White possesses the intangibles to salvage his career with the Bears.
"We talk about this all the time when players face adversity and guys overcome it," Pace said. "It's actually a trait you look for when you draft guys. Sometimes guys that have overcome adversity, that's a good thing.
"Kevin has definitely had his fair share of adversity. Fortunately, he has the right personality and makeup, the family and support system around him to handle those moments. We're looking forward to attacking this offseason with that."