LenDale White healthy, ready to run for Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -LenDale White stood at his locker answering questions after his first day of practice in training camp, a bag of ice wrapped around his right wrist.

Something wrong?

No, he said with a slight grin. Just part of training camp.

The Tennessee Titans have to answer a lot of questions about their offense during training camp. Not when it comes to White.

The running back whose stock dropped him from a likely top 15 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft to the 45th pick overall because of concerns and doubts over his health and commitment to football is heading into his third season with the Titans possibly healthier than he's been as a pro.

And any misgivings over his commitment?

Well, those should be gone now, erased thanks to White starting every game in 2007 and racking up a career-best 1,110 yards all while playing on a left knee with torn cartilage he didn't have surgically repaired until January after the season ended. That has teammates like linebacker Keith Bulluck holding high expectations for the running back in 2008.

"LenDale has seen what it takes. He had a decent year last year, and he was hurt. So he had surgery. He rehabbed, and now he says he's feeling the best he's felt in a long time. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how he plays this year. Maybe he can make that trip to Europe this year," Bulluck said.

Bulluck had promised White a trip to Europe if the running back ran for 1,200 yards last season. He might be paying up in a few months if White has his way.

"This is the most comfortable I've been," White said. "I'm excited about it. Last year, I played the entire season with a torn meniscus. But I'm healthy now. God forbid anything happens, but I do look forward to seeing what's going to happen this season because with me being healthy, it's going to be fun."

That might help White look like the running back nicknamed "Thunder" for how he plowed through defenses in college at Southern California, and the timing is good because the Titans have spent two high draft picks at running back in each of the past two years at that position.

Chris Johnson, the 24th pick overall this year, signed his contract Saturday in time to be on the field. Chris Henry, the 50th pick overall last year, is working to earn playing time as well.

White is the 6-foot-1, 235-pound back who set the Trojans' record for career touchdowns with 57 while winning two national titles. He averaged 5.8 yards on 541 carries and finished with 3,159 yards. He also caught 31 passes for 331 yards while sharing the work with Reggie Bush.

When White declared for the draft in January 2006, he was predicted to last no later than 15 spots into the first round. Then a hamstring injury limited his workouts and raised questions about his work ethic. The Titans, who had White's college coordinator Norm Chow vouching for him as Tennessee's coordinator then, traded back six spots and then drafted him.

White wound up working behind Travis Henry that season, rushing for 244 yards on 61 carries. He inherited the starting job once Tennessee cut Henry in March 2007 rather than pay him an $8.3 million bonus.

He responded by ranking eighth in the AFC in yards rushing and led the Titans with seven touchdowns rushing. He ran for 100 yards or more in five different games despite other minor injuries.

After the Titans lost to San Diego in the wild-card playoff game, White had arthroscopic surgery to fix his knee. He also enjoyed some of his offseason, making a brief appearance in Snoop Dogg's video for "Life of 'da Party." That didn't stop him from being on the field for most of the offseason sessions.

Coach Jeff Fisher said that White ran well in the conditioning tests to start training camp and is practicing hard. He believes the running back understands what it takes to be the starting running back.

"Last year going into it, he just had some minor injury things to deal with. He understands what the workload is, and he'll be ready," Fisher said.

White will need to be. Now the veteran of the running back corps, White said he understands what's going on and that he hopes to get the majority of the carries.

"This year I'm not worried about nobody else but my teammates and whatever I can do to help my team win games and ultimately the Super Bowl," he said.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.