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Devin White opens up on crucial mistake made in final year with Buccaneers, won’t make same error with Eagles

PHILADELPHIA — The door was slammed shut on Devin White putting on a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform again. After reports of quitting on the team that drafted him No. 5 overall five years ago, the Super Bowl hero needed a fresh start to rebuild his game and reputation.

The Philadelphia Eagles are giving White that chance. White let external factors dictate his play on the field last season, vowing that same mindset isn’t following him to Philadelphia.ย 

“That’s where I had trouble last year, just trying to be their guy rather than going out there and continuing to have fun with the game and making plays,” White sais at the NovaCare Complex Wednesday. “I think that’s where being a great football player comes when you’re out there smiling and celebrating and not really focusing on the business side.”

White played under the fifth-year option in Tampa Bay, but was playing for a contract extension. The uncertainty of the situation affected his play throughout the season, eventually falling out of favor in December in favor of K.J. Britt.ย 

White did get his starting spot back, only to see his percentage of snaps reduced in the playoffs. He played just 44% of the defensive snaps in the wild-card win over the Eagles, and just 19% in the divisional round loss to the Detroit Lions.ย 

“I feel like if you have fun, the business side will take care of itself,” White said. “That was my first time being in a business situation. I don’t think I handled it well. I handled it more like a lawyer than I should’ve been just a football player.”

The change of scenery has been good for White, which is exactly what Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles suggested at the NFLย owners meetings in March. While White wouldn’t fully echo Bowles’ comments, he embraced the fresh start.ย 

“I feel like it was definitely good, a breath of fresh air to be able to start over and work my way from the ground up,” White said. “There’s nothing like a life-humbling experience and I feel like what I went through last year was very humbling for me. It put me back to the root of everything where I want to build myself back up.

“I know I can do it. I did it coming out of high school. I did it coming out of college. I did it when I first got in the NFL and it’s time to do it again. That’s a guy [Bowles] who always had my back, so if he said that then I really agree because he knows best.”

Moving north to Philadelphia has humbled White, eager to prove he’s still a productive player. The Eagles have already entrenched White as a first-team linebacker, who’s been impressing throughout the offseason workouts.ย 

White then came around, knowing Bowles was onto something.ย 

“He was a father figure to me, still to this day, and he checks in on me,” White said. “I think this new scenery is good. I’m with a great organization, I’m around great people every day. I already have a lot of friends on this team, so it’s good to get a chance to play with them. Hopefully I don’t have to keep changing sceneries.

“Now I’m just back to being a football player and smiling every day, and just being a light around the building, just being someone everybody can count on. That’s what I want to hold my hat on this year.”

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Author: Jeff Kerr
June 6, 2024 | 10:10 am

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