I've gone back through recent interview transcripts to see what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had said about White recently. There were no indications Carroll expected this result so quickly.
Carroll on May 17, when White missed practice: "LenDale is coming back from Tennessee. He had some issues there with the flood situations that he had to take care of. He will be back tonight. He will be back with us from now on."
Carroll on May 24, asked about White's career: "He’s established that he can score touchdowns. He’s been a physical runner. I’ve seen quite a bit of him. He lost his play time to a guy that splashed hugely on the scene last year. We all understand that. He’s got a style that makes him unique. He’s a little trimmer than he’s been. He’s right around 220, which is I think as light as we’ve ever seen him maybe since the time he was in high school. He's physically capable of carrying a little bit different approach to the game. He was as much as probably 250 at times. We'll see how it all fits together. It has a long ways to go. We are going to certainly wait it out and see how he does."
The part about waiting it out and seeing how White does suggests something specifically or cumulatively changed Carroll's mind between May 24 and May 28. Was it the looming suspension? Would the Seahawks really be finding out about the possibility of a suspension only now? That seems unlikely. If White were approaching his job conscientiously, the team might be willing to "wait it out" because White could still give the team 12 games of production. This is what we call a developing story.