With a possible four-game drug suspension hanging over his head and an apparent struggle to buy into head coach Pete Carroll’s new culture, running back LenDale White was released by the Seattle Seahawks on Friday just five weeks into his tenure in Seattle.
“It became apparent at this time that LenDale was not ready to be a member of the Seattle Seahawks,” general manager John Schneider said in a prepared statement. “It just did not appear to be the right fit at this point in our program. We wish LenDale all the best with his future.”
It’s a surprising ending to a second chance for White to revive his NFL career after playing second fiddle to Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans during his march to 2,000 yards in 2009. White appeared to be the front-runner to earn the starting running back job in a competition that included Julius Jones and Justin Forsett, and newcomer Leon Washington.
However, according to a report from the league’s website, White could be facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. The Seahawks reportedly knew about the suspension before making the draft-day trade with Tennessee, which sent fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Titans in exchange for White and defensive end Kevin Vickerson.
More critical to White’s departure however was his reported inability to adapt to Seattle’s change of culture. The 25-year-old came to Seattle with his share of baggage from Tennessee, and apparently had not changed his ways; coming late to meetings, showing a sense of entitlement and not being receptive to coaching.
Soon after his release from the Seahawks, White tweeted: “God is good. All the time!!”
White’s uncle, Herman White, told the Associated Press on Friday night that his nephew is “confused” and “broken up” over the Seahawks’ decision.
“He wasn’t doing good,” Herman White was quoted as saying, adding he had been speaking with the former USC star throughout the day. “I have no idea what happened.”
As for the possibility of facing a four-game suspension, Herman White told AP: “He was surprised. I’m pretty shocked, based on what he’s been telling me. His emotions and all ... he wasn’t doing good.”
White had not seen much time on the field during offseason workouts, having returned to Tennessee to take care of personal matters following a recent flood there. And while at practice, White had not received a lot of reps because he was nursing a groin injury.
Weight was not an issue, as White reported at 219 pounds and joked about having to bulk up before training camp started.
Carroll, who coached White at USC, hinted that his former player still had a ways to go after practice on Monday.
“He’s physically capable of carrying a little bit different approach to the game – he was as much as probably 250 (pounds) at times,” Carroll said on Monday. “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 wait lasted four days.
White was in the final year of his contract that would have paid him $1.75 million in base salary for the 2010 season. Now he’s free to sign with any team that claims him.
The move leaves Seattle without a legitimate short-yardage and red-zone runner.
With White gone, Seattle has Jones, Forsett, Washington, Quinton Ganther and Louis Rankin competing for reps at the running back position.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks