White spent a portion of his Wednesday media session graciously responding to questions about teammates Mike Glennon and Victor Cruz, but White’s mood turned tense when he was asked about Bears wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni’s recent claim that he and White sat together to watch White’s college highlight film at West Virginia.
“As far as the college film, that was amongst players: me, Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz,” White said. “It was actually Kendall’s idea to watch each other’s college film since we had a little time off. Watched mine, then watched Kendall’s, then watched Victor Cruz, when he was with the Giants. As far as that goes, that’s all I know.
“Like I said. It was me, Kendall Wright, Victor Cruz. Watched mine, watched Kendall’s, then watched Victor Cruz with the Giants.”
White -- the seventh overall pick in 2015 -- bristled at the notion that viewing the old highlight tape would somehow remind him of how dominant a player he can be.
“No, [I don’t need that reminder], I see it every day on film,” White said.
“We just wanted to watch each other’s college film, just reminiscing. “Nothing [to it].”
White’s version of the highlight-tape story differs from the one Azzanni told reporters Monday.
“This morning me and him watched his West Virginia highlight film again,” Azzanni said. “He forgets about that sometime because of the battle he’s had the last two years. He’s had a really good three days. I’m pleased with him. First day was great, second day was OK, today he comes back out and he’s buying in. It’s still a process, but he’s buying in. You see flashes of what we want him to be, of what he wants to be. We’ve just got to block out the noise for him. I can’t let him read papers and media. I just can’t let him because there’s going to be some negative in there that gets into his head and he can’t let that happen. He’s got to be positive, and we’ve got to go in our bunker in there and I’ve got to tell him how great he is all the time because he is.”
Azzanni added: “I wanted him to see how he used to go up and just grab that ball out of the air and he’s starting to do that again. I know he had a drop in one-on-ones the other day. The other thing is he’s a prideful kid and he lets that beat him up and you cannot do that. You’ve got to snap and clear. You can’t let one drop give you another drop. Kobe Bryant takes 60 shots a game. There’s a reason. He clears it out, like he didn’t even take those first 59, he keeps shooting. That’s what Kevin’s got to do. He’s got to put it away, snap and clear, and we’ve got to be on the positives, too. He might have run a great route. He did actually on that one; great release, physical, violent, ran a great route. Now he’s got to finish it. So you’ve got to also understand that there’s some good in there too and I’ve got to stay on him and build his confidence.”
White’s played in only four regular-season games because of two separate lower-leg injuries. White had 19 receptions for 187 yards last season before he suffered a severe high ankle sprain that resulted in a fractured fibula in his left leg. The receiver sat out his entire rookie season after developing a stress fracture in his left shin. At the time of that injury, White had a steel rod inserted into his tibia to stabilize the left leg.
The Bears still have high hopes for White, who if healthy, projects to be a starter.
“I think you’ll see Kevin get better every day, because he’s been out there, been healthy and I think that’s kind of a natural progression,” coach John Fox said. “I’m sure there’s some frustration level, to be somewhere two years and played [four] games. That’d frustrate a Good Humor man. But he’s battled it; he’s tough-minded guy, he’s a competitor, he’s got physical skills. Now it’s just a matter of practicing football and getting better.”
White’s receivers coach in 2016, Curtis Johnson, returned to New Orleans in the offseason.
Azzanni coached in the college ranks since 1999 before Fox hired him.
White was brief in his assessment of Azzanni.
“[He’s] coaching me like everybody else,” White said.