NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Heisman Trophy winner Jason White
ended his professional career Thursday, citing his weak knees.
White, who had been competing for third quarterback with the
Tennessee Titans, said he has the head and heart to play in the
NFL. He doesn't have the knees.
"It's always been a dream of mine, but certain things won't
allow me to chase that dream," White said. "It's kind of out of
my hands at this point."
White won the Heisman Trophy in 2003 and led Oklahoma to
back-to-back BCS title games. He also won the Davey O'Brien award
twice and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm title and is Oklahoma's
career passing leader with 7,922 yards and in touchdown passes with
His career at Oklahoma lasted six years because of
reconstructive surgery on each knee. He was redshirted after the
first one in 1999, then earned a medical exemption for an extra
year of eligibility after the second in 2002.
White joined the Titans in May as an undrafted rookie after an
audition with the Kansas City Chiefs did not lead to a contract
He said he was still feeling the effects of the knee surgeries.
"I always had trouble, even in the summer, dropping back when
practice wasn't every day," he said. "Now that practice was every
day it got to the point where one of my knees was super sore, so I
started favoring it with the other one. Then the other one started
hurting. I took a couple of days off this week and it hasn't really
He said he informed coach Jeff Fisher of his decision Wednesday
"I stuck it out as long as I could," White said. "I just came
to a point where it took me four seconds to drop back on a
five-step drop. By that time, I'm sacked."
Fisher said White's numbers prove that he was able to move
offenses and win games.
"You don't necessarily, at that position, have to be the most
athletic or the most gifted or have the strongest arm. You have to
move an offense and you have to have the intangibles, and that's
what he's had, and that's what he's proven in a great college
career," Fisher said.
White had split time equally with Gino Guidugli of Cincinnati
and Shane Boyd of Kentucky, but was held back in recent days when
the pain in his knees increased.
He planned to return home to Tuttle, Okla., by Thursday night
and plans to pursue jobs as a football coach next week.
"Sometimes I think that you have to swallow your pride a little
bit and know when you're done," he said.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops found out about White's retirement
following the Sooners' morning practice Thursday.
"Jason knows what's best for him," Stoops said. "If that's
what he has to do, he's had an incredible career here."
After his second knee surgery, White had to take days off
between practices. But before last season, he was back to working
out every day without problems. He then made it through the entire
season without injury problems.
Stoops thinks White, who has a degree in sociology, will be a
"I'm sure possibly all the extra work probably could be
bothersome to him healthwise, and he just decided he wants to move
on," Stoops said. "Good for him. He'll have a successful career
in whatever he does."