It would probably not be premature to suggest that LenDale White’s NFL career might be over. His career was already teetering this summer when the Denver Broncos signed him to a contract on Aug. 4, and now – with a four-game suspension already staring him in the face – his season is finished.
White sustained a torn Achilles tendon Thursday night against the Minnesota Vikings and was placed on injured reserve Friday. The good news: While he’s recuperating, he can still serve his suspension for violating the NFL’s policy regarding substance abuse (he admitted to smoking marijuana in the past).
But it wouldn’t be out of the question to wonder if White, who has battled weight issues and clashed with coaches in the past, can even entertain the thought of coming back. It’s not just the severity of the injury, either. White was all but out of the league earlier this year when his former coach at USC, Pete Carroll, released him in May, one month after the Seattle Seahawks acquired him from the Tennessee Titans. Word of White’s upcoming suspension was enough to dissuade Carroll.
It wasn’t until last month that the Broncos gave him a shot after their primary running backs, Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter, suffered injuries.
It’s possible that White, who is only 25, may have realized it was his last chance to make good in the league. Here’s a guy whose work ethic and dedication were often question, but this is what he told the Denver Post at the time he was signed:
“I want to play football, I want to be out here, I like to be out here, I like hitting pads. I like meeting new guys. ... This is my love, this is my passion. I want to do this for the rest of my career. I'm going to stay away from everything negative. I have to, as long I can play football.”
And now, just like that, he can’t. Unfortunately for White, his ability to come back is no longer in his own hands.