Profiling Steve White
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2002
BACK AND FORTH
[Times photo: John Pendygraft 1998]
After 40 games in four years at the University of Tennessee and 21 starts at defensive end, Steve White began his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996. The Eagles insisted he was more suited to play linebacker, so White promptly began a weight loss regimen in which he shed more than 20 pounds. But the Eagles waived White before the start of his rookie season, and he was signed one week later to the Bucs practice squad. Tampa Bay decided to move White back to defensive end and asked him to put the weight back on. He did.
BACK AND FORTH, PART II
After three years in a backup role, White had a breakout season in 1999 when he outplayed former first-round pick Regan Upshaw in the preseason and moved into the starting lineup. Of course, one year later he lost that starting position to Marcus Jones.
POWERFUL IN THE PLAYOFFS
As seasons go, 1999 was not only one of the best for the Bucs but also for White. He started 13 games, missing three because of injury, but came up with a number of huge plays in the playoffs. In the Bucs' 14-13 playoff win over the Redskins, White sacked Brad Johnson, and Warren Sapp recovered the ball at the Redskins 32. Tampa Bay scored the winning touchdown on that drive. In that game, White had seven tackles, two sacks and the forced fumble.
IN THE ROTATION
Now 28, the 6-foot-2, 275-pounder has become a critical part of the Bucs' pass-rush rotation. With Jones and Simeon Rice starting on the left and right ends, respectively, White has had an impact subbing for both. He finished the season with 21 solo tackles and five sacks, third on the team to Rice and Sapp.
WILL HE OR WON'T HE?
Entering today's game, White could once again be back in the starting lineup. With Jones nursing a right shoulder sprain, White started the regular-season finale against the Eagles. White's status will be decided shortly before the game.
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