Earlier this month, Pat White took the field at West Virginia’s Milan Puskar Stadium, evoking memories of some of his greatest moments. Are there any more to come?
It’s been a strange trip since White left his old stomping grounds after the 2008 season. But for one day, that didn’t matter.
White returned to West Virginia for the school’s Old Timers’ celebration, which pitted former Mountaineers stars against each other in a sandlot-style game with no pads.
“It feels great to be back to my second home,” White told West Virginia Illustrated before the game. “I’m a little nervous. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the field, but we’ll see what happens.”
It’s far from the competition White is used to. After all, he starred for WVU before being a 2009 second round pick of the Miami Dolphins, for whom he played just one season.
White was tabbed a draft sleeper by many experts, though he did not fulfill those expectations. He was stuck behind veteran Chad Pennington and Chad Henne, a more traditional pocket passer.
As such, White was relegated to the Wildcat formation. He didn’t distinguish himself enough there, remained inaccurate as a passer and couldn’t justify his four-year, $4.5 million contract. White was waived by the Dolphins in September of 2010.
Just six days later, White signed a minor-league contract with the Kansas City Royals. It didn’t come completely out of left field, so to speak, as White previously was drafted by the Angels and Yankees.
But his baseball career was even shorter than his time in the NFL. White retired from the Royals’ organization, deciding not to report to 2011 spring training after his stint in the Instructional League.
All reports of his second retirement suggest that White gave baseball a shot, but just didn’t want to suffer through the trek to the major leagues, a journey that undoubtedly would be long after his hiatus from the sport.
So where does he go from here?
According to the American Chronicle, the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts have “shown interest,” while the UFL’s Virginia Destroyers added White to their reserve unsigned players list in late April. Their head coach is Marty Schottenheimer.
White, for his part, is not ruling anything out.
“Who knows where I will end up or where I will be?” White told the American Chronicle. “I am just going to continue to take it step by step and do what’s right and we’ll see what happens for me.”
Judging by the nature of competition in both the CFL and UFL, White could probably play either quarterback or receiver.
Where he plays at what position he chooses are both tough calls. White is best suited to play quarterback and could be extremely successful in either the UFL or Canada, but his best shot at getting back to the NFL is probably converting to wide receiver. After all, spread quarterbacks that already bombed out of the league aren’t exactly in high demand.
And while White could probably make more money in the CFL, the Argonauts wouldn’t be a great fit since another former Dolphin, Cleo Lemon, is the established quarterback there. If White wants a chance to play, the Destroyers look like the best option as an expansion UFL franchise. The UFL has also been more successful in getting players on NFL radars.
Unfortunately, White admits he isn’t in great shape for either right now.
“I haven’t been training too often as far as weight lifting goes,” White said. “I am in shape. I don’t sit around the house. I get out and run, but as far as weight lifting goes, I haven’t been bulking up.”
For now, White has been spending time in Morgantown, where he’s excited for the fall, when he can watch his brother, Coley, play receiver for the Mountaineers.
Of course, Coley will have a hard time living up to his brother’s West Virginia legend. White is the Moutaineers’ all-time winningest quarterback, one who started and won four consecutive bowl games.
That’s why, at 25-years old, it’s likely White still has a lot to provide on the field – wherever that may be.