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Professional

NFL: Bears' White working hard to bounce back

The hunger is still there

Bears WR Kevin White has suffered through one injury after another in his 3-year NFL career, but still feels he can work his way back and prove himself worthy of the first-round pick the Bears used on him. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Bears WR Kevin White has suffered through one injury after another in his 3-year NFL career, but still feels he can work his way back and prove himself worthy of the first-round pick the Bears used on him. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Ka’Raun White doesn’t know many players with the bad fortune his older brother has dealt with over his first three seasons in the NFL.

Fractured legs in 2015 and 2016 and a broken shoulder blade in 2017 prevented Kevin White from trying to live up to the potential the Bears forecast when they drafted the wide receiver at No. 7 three years ago.

But Ka’Raun, a West Virginia wide receiver who is trying to follow Kevin’s footsteps to the NFL, is holding out hope his brother can “shock the world” in his return this year.

“He’s still humble, hungry, wants to prove everybody wrong,” Ka’Raun White told reporters last week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. “A lot of people are saying he’s a bust, he’s glass, he’s this. But he don’t let all that get to his head. He’s still working every day, rehabbing. He’ll bounce back.”

White hasn’t played in a game since Sept. 10, when he suffered the shoulder blade injury. But Bears general manager Ryan Pace said at the combine that because White is recovering from an upper-body injury he has been able to run and work on his route quickness.

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said Tuesday on “Bears All Access” on WSCR-AM 670 that White was working out with him in California this week. Host Jeff Joniak referenced a recent Instagram post of White flexing with his shirt off in Hawaii, saying his muscles looked “ripped.”

“I’m not trying to boost his confidence more than it already is,” Trubisky joked. “I said, ‘Hey, put a shirt on buddy. We’ve got work to do.’

“Kevin is 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. He’s looking good while we’re throwing together out here. We’ve just got to continue to put in that work, and I know he’s busting his tail to really do big things this year.”

The work is necessary if White wants another chance with a Bears receiving corps that is certain to look different in 2 months after the team makes acquisitions in free agency and the draft.

White has made just five regular-season appearances in his career, totaling 21 catches for 193 yards.

“He’s kind of got a chip on his shoulder now,” Pace said. “We’re going to add more to that room. But Kevin, it’s just unfortunate with the injuries, but we’re still excited about where he’s at.”

New coach Matt Nagy hasn’t met with the Bears players yet, per NFL rules, but he said he views it as his own challenge to get White back up to speed.

“You don’t make any promises that anything’s going to happen,” Nagy said. “But you see a kid like that, you know his road and where he’s at, and I look at that as a personal challenge to get him to a place where we want to get him.”

Ka’Raun said he believes Kevin has remained “the same guy” through his most recent trials, though the brothers – including safety and draft prospect Kyzir White – don’t discuss football much when they’re together.

“It’s stressful, especially for him,” Ka’Raun said. “He hasn’t been able to do what he’s loved to do in the past 3 years, so we don’t like bringing it up.

“It’s just 3 years in a row. Hopefully, this season coming up he can bounce back and shock the world once again.”

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