Lendale White: ‘Play me or trade me’

Diana Ross had the Supremes, Gladys Knight the Pips, and Smokey Robinson was backed up by the Miracles. When you relate this to the world of football, you see what Reggie Bush and Chris Johnson have in common, and his name is Lendale White.

White has been singing backup for headlining stars since he left Chatfield High School of Colorado in 2002. That’s eight years in the shadows, and eight years too much. The tailback is officially launching his “play me or trade me” campaign, as told to the Tennessean.

“I did good with it for a year, I didn’t complain. I backed up greatness, a guy who ran for 2,000 yards. But now that that’s over I feel like … it is time for me to start somewhere. And that is what I want to do. I want to be a starter in the NFL, not a backup,”

White was chosen in the second-round of the 2006 draft by the Tennessee Titans. At the time, he felt slighted, believing he was first-round worthy. Some cited poor character and work ethic as the reasoning behind his fall. He became a 1000 yard rusher in 2007, despite splitting carries with Chris Brown. Used primarily in short yardage situations, he spent the majority of 2008 leading the league in touchdowns,  after the Titans selected Chris Johnson in the first-round of that year’s draft to receive the bulk of the carries.

No running back shined brighter than Chris Johnson in 2009, cracking the 2000 yard rushing mark, and relegating the new slim and fit Lendale White to sideline spectator. White expressed happiness for his teammate and appreciation for being a part of it, but he feels his time in the backdrop has run its course. He finished the ’09 season with just 222 yards on 64 carries.

White is a restricted free agent extended a second-round tender by the Titans, making it unlikely that another club will approach and sign him to an offer sheet. The “play me or trade me” also isn’t likely to happen on either count. He may receive more carries in Tennessee in the upcoming season, providing more relief and less wear and tear for Johnson, but he’ll never be the starter. If Tennessee does explore a trade, they probably won’t find a partner willing to part with a second round pick for a player only used sparingly, especially with Thomas Jones, Ladainian Tomlinson, and Brian Westbrook now on the open market.

Although White was dwarfed by Reggie Bush at USC, there’s no denying that his greatest moments came in the biggest games.

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~ by Anthony on March 5, 2010.

2 Responses to “Lendale White: ‘Play me or trade me’”

  1. He deserves a chance to start.

  2. […] Lendale White: 'Play me or trade me' […]

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