Friday, April 29, 2005

Kansas City Chiefs Give Jason White a Call

Jason White has three chances. Three chances to prove that he deserved the 2003 Heisman trophy, three chances to prove that the blame for two consecutive B.C.S. championship game losses should not totally be put on his shoulders. Jason White has three chances to prove that 7,051 passing yards, and 75 touchdowns to just 19 interceptions over his last two seasons of college football were no fluke.

The Kansas City Chiefs have given Jason White these three opportunities, by inviting him to participate in their mini-camp this weekend. During the next three days Jason White will try to earn a roster spot with the Chiefs. Basically he has three practices to prove that he deserves to be in the NFL.

White went un-drafted in last weekend’s NFL draft and un-signed in this week’s free agent signings. The former Sooner Quarterback pondered other possible career opportunities earlier this week, including coaching, when his phone did not ring from NFL teams. Stating that he didn’t want to be a publicity stunt or get a sympathy opportunity, he implied that he might be done with playing football. But, that was before the Chiefs called. Now Jason White is in Kansas City trying to prove his worth.

Why should a Heisman winner have to prove his worth? Chiefs Coach Dick Vermeil was quoted earlier in the week as saying that, “the NFL didn’t evaluate him as talented enough to play at this level.” However Chiefs owner Carl Peterson had a different view of Jason White, “I’m not sure he can’t play in this league. He’s an extraordinary young man. You can’t count him out. He’s as tough minded as anybody and he had some great stats.”

The NFL shied away from White because of reconstructive surgery to both knees, but over the last two seasons his knees have proven to be more than healthy, White even scrambled for a first down every now and then. But some NFL teams feel like your quarterback has to be mobile to be successful. Has anyone ever heard of Dan Marino? This guy looked like his legs were literally going to fall off when he tried to run, and I emphasize tried, yet he wrote the NFL passing book. How about Peyton Manning? He’s not the most nimble of athletes, but he is re-writing the NFL passing book. An NFL quarter back should be judged by his arm and his head not his legs.

Last season Alex Smith the number one pick in the draft passed for 2,952 yards 32 touchdowns and 4 interceptions playing in the Mountain West Conference. Compare that to White’s 3,205 yards 35 touchdowns and 9 interceptions last season, playing in the Big 12 Conference, and White has proven that he is capable of putting up the numbers. Also, keep in mind that with a Heisman runner-up at tail back, Adrian Peterson, the Sooners scaled back their passing attack last season.

Critics will tell you that the system has made White a success and a talented receiving corps put up the numbers for him. Well, no-kidding! Name a championship football team that has not had a good system. All great teams have a great system, but they all also need a great triggerman as well. I would think that USC is proud of their system, but no one is taking any credit away from their Heisman hero. Tom Brady has been the beneficiary of a great system in New England and he is going to be one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game.

When it comes to talented receivers, no doubt the Sooners have them. OU had three receivers taken on the first day of the NFL draft last weekend, but what comes first the great receiver or the great quarter back? Who would Joe Montana be without Jerry Rice, or Dan Marino without Mark Clayton? Who is Peyton Manning without Marvin Harrison? It’s like the chicken and the egg; you can’t have one without the other.

All Jason White wanted was a chance to prove that he can still play football. The Kansas City Chiefs are going to give him three of them.

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