Titans nab USC's White in middle of second round
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- LenDale White of Southern California fell from a potential first-round draft pick to the middle of the second round when the Tennessee Titans, and his former offensive coordinator Norm Chow, finally stopped his slide.
The "Thunder" to Reggie Bush's "Lightning" at USC, White was seen as a top-15 pick until questions about his work ethic, his weight and a hamstring injury that prevented him from running the 40-yard dash before the draft. He dropped to the 45th pick overall Saturday.
Coach Jeff Fisher acknowledged, then discounted published reports about a positive drug test at the NFL combine.
"That is not correct," he said. "We got the results from all the testing at the combine. The reports were false. We just feel considering the ability that he has and the production he has and the running style that he brings to this franchise, this was a player we could not pass up."
Earlier Saturday, White's agent, Eugene Parker, adamantly denied the reports.
"We are confident that LenDale did not fail an NFL drug test," said Parker. "It's simply not true."
The lone official function at which an NFL drug test is administered is the league scouting combine in Indianapolis. Last week, teams received a report citing just two prospects for this year's draft, LSU defensive tackle Claude Wroten and Missouri State kicker Jon Scifres, as having tested positive at the combine in late February.
Four general managers or personnel directors contacted by ESPN.com on Friday and Saturday said there was no follow-up letter citing additional positive tests. All four said they were unfamiliar with any league-administered tests that White could have failed.
Teams are not permitted to conduct drug screenings on players when they bring them to their complexes for individual pre-draft meetings. That said, a few franchises skirt the rules and do conduct such tests. Those teams, though, would have no reason, given the competitive nature of the draft, to share the results.
White did not run a 40-yard dash at the combine sessions and then, citing a hamstring injury, did not run at the USC pro day workouts on April 2.
Two weeks ago, an MRI examination revealed that White had a moderate tear of his right hamstring and would need four to five weeks of rehabilitation before he could run. Teams are generally reluctant to invest in a prospect without a full workup on him, and a 40-yard time is regarded as a significant part of that puzzle.
Fisher, therefore, tapped Chow's knowledge of White, a junior who left USC early. Chow helped recruit White and vouched for him with the Titans.
The 6-foot-1 White, of Denver, led the nation in scoring with 156 points last season with 24 rushing touchdowns. He ran 197 times for 1,302 times with a 6.6-yard average. He said in a conference call that his weight currently is 240.
He said he doesn't understand all the questions about his character, saying he knows right from wrong. He also plans to prove doubters wrong.
"Right now I'm looking at a 31-team chip on my shoulder," White said.
ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli contributed to this article. Information from The Associated Press was also used in this report.
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