Quarterback's football plans appear in limbo
A three-day workout with the Kansas City Chiefs over the weekend earned former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jason White plenty of counsel from their coaches, but no contract offer from the team.
The Chiefs were the only NFL team to provide White, the former Oklahoma Sooner who won the 2003 Heisman, an audition with its other rookies during mini-camp. Even so, officials have decided to take a pass on one of the college game's most prolific passers; he was not invited to Kansas City's mini-camp in June and it is uncertain now where, or even if, White will get another shot from the league that would warrant a contract for training camp.
Citing the unusual career route traversed by two-time league MVP Kurt Warner, who he tutored in St. Louis for two seasons, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil suggested to White that he consider playing in the Arena Football League.
"I think he's aware of where he is and what he needs to do," Vermeil told Kansas City-area media after telling White that he would not get a contract.
White told The Associated Press he wasn't interested in beginning his pro career in the minors.
"[Vermeil's] got his own opinion," White told AP. "Whatever he thinks. I saw how I matched up with other NFL rookies."
"I don't know. I think given the right situation and working on certain areas of my game, I could do it. But who knows if that situation is gonna come up?"
Spurned through the seven rounds of the 2005 draft and all but ignored in the free agent feeding frenzy that followed, White had problems just getting the weekend invitation from the Chiefs. His agent, James "Bus" Cook, worked the phones hard after the draft, contacting each of the 32 teams at least twice before Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson agreed to bring the quarterback in for the mini-camp, and with only a slight chance of eliciting a contract proposal.
Under league rules, teams are permitted to bring unsigned college players to mini-camps to audition and work with their other rookies.
White certainly faced an uphill battle in Kansas City. The Chiefs quarterback depth chart includes three veterans -- starter Trent Green along with backups Todd Collins and Damon Huard -- along with youngsters Casey Clausen and James Kilian.
Despite being one of the most celebrated college quarterbacks in recent history, White might be forced to consider career options outside of football if he doesn't get a tryout soon. In his Heisman season, White threw 40 touchdown passes and also won the Davey O'Brien and Jim Thorpe Courage awards. He also was selected as the Big 12's offensive player of the year.
In 2004, White threw 35 TD passes and won the Maxwell, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm, and the O'Brien awards for a second consecutive season. He also was the repeat choice as Big 12 offensive player of the year.
Those accolades aside, White went undrafted; some scouts privately cited a history of knee injuries and lack of arm strength. Twice during his college career White suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments -- to his left knee in 2001 and right knee in '02. In his last two seasons with the Sooners, however, he completed 533 of 841 passes for 7,051 yards, with 75 touchdown passes and only 19 interceptions.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here .
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