The agent for Tennessee Titans running back LenDale White said his client is eager to prove himself this season, regardless of whether or not he is in a contract year.
Christopher Brantley, who represents White, acknowledges that certainly White wants to do well as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, but said White’s motivation stems more from wanting to prove his professionalism than anything else.
“Everybody in that final year gears up to put their best foot forward, but whether it’s a contract year or not, he’s been getting a lot of flack about his weight and his work ethic, and he just wants to set the record straight on all that,” Brantley said. “He wants to show that he’s a solid professional and a good back in the NFL, and when he’s been given the opportunity, he produces.”
Titans strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson had indicated that White had reported to the off-season workout program more than 20 pounds lighter than when he had done the previous year.
Brantley corroborated that, saying that White’s weight at the start of the off-season program was at 238 pounds. That number would mark the best of White’s career as a Titan thus far. Before the 2007 season, White’s weight was nearly 270 pounds when he reported for the off-season program.
“Before he went down to work out, he was home back in Denver working out with his uncle who helps him get ready and did so when he was in school [at Southern California],” Brantley said. “There are certain drills and programs that they do to get ready, and he kind of wanted to go home and get back to basics and be really ready to go when the program started.”
Two seasons ago, White led the Titans in rushing with 1,110 yards, but with the arrival of Chris Johnson last year, was relegated to a support role. White finished with 773 yards on 200 carries, and had 15 touchdowns, as he filled the role of the Titans’ short-yardage back as well.
As for an extension with the Titans, Brantley said the two sides had spoken briefly about that during the 2008 season, but that no talks were currently ongoing.
Brantley said he had “heard nothing but good things” thus far about White during the off-season work, adding that his client has not complained about any injuries and was committed to getting into tip-top shape.
Brantley added that White will probably open the season with a few more pounds than the current 238, but that it will be different from years past when weight was always an issue.
“He’ll probably gain a little bit more. He wants to be durable,” Brantley said. “LenDale doesn’t mind having a few pounds, just to help him absorb the punishment. But just for the purposes of training, and getting his endurance, it helps for him to be lighter right now. The difference this year than in years past is that when he gains the weight, it will be more muscle mass than anything else.”