Player Diary: Greg White

Lake Forest - The stiff competition on the defensive line makes Greg White a long shot to make the 53-man roster, but after leading NFL Europe in sacks, he's hoping to use his success abroad as a springboard.

White spent the 2005 off-season doing what he enjoys most, playing football. Shortly after signing with the Bears, the 268 lb 6-3 White was allocated to the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe where he led the league with seven sacks.

Houston originally picked White in the 7th round 2002 draft. He spent time on the practice squads of Washington, New Orleans, Atlanta, Tennessee and Tampa Bay. He was signed to Chicago's Reserve/Futures list in January of 2005.

White is a native of Newark, New Jersey. He played OLB and DE for three seasons at the University of Minnesota where he totaled 132 tackles and 11 sacks. While at Minnesota, White majored in Youth Studies. He offers his thoughts on life in NFL Europe and what it's like to return to the States and line up with the Bears:

It's good to be back here but I miss some things about Europe. Being with that league offered a great opportunity to travel places that I'd never seen and to meet some pretty interesting people.

I must admit that my language skills are limited at best. I was in Germany so of course everybody there spoke German. That was fine with me, as I spent most of my time with the other players whose German was also pretty thin.

I learned just enough to get along. I've never been a fan of exotic foods so I ate most of my meals at those hometown standbys KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut and McDonalds. I learned phrases like ‘hold the lettuce,' ‘extra ketchup, please,' ‘I like crispy crust,' and ‘more gravy on the potatoes,' that kind of thing so my dinner would come exactly the way I wanted. At my size, I tend to eat quite a lot so I guess that I actually had quite a bit of practice speaking German.

I was surprised by the attitude of many of the people I'd run into during my free time. Most of them just weren't that friendly. I never could figure out why. I'd walk down the street and it would seem as if some of them would go out of their way to push me one way or another on the sidewalk.

That's something I wouldn't recommend doing to a football player who specializes in defensive moves. I'm a pretty aggressive guy by nature so as you can imagine that didn't sit too well with me. By the end of my time there, they'd push me and I'd push them right back. That seemed to solve the problem.

But some of the people I met in Europe were considerably friendlier. I used to run into quite a few pretty girls in the local clubs. That's the reason I taught myself some other useful phrases. I'd guess that I knew more German pick up lines than most of the other players over there. It was a matter of constant practice. And the best part was that these phrases worked most of the time. So there is definite value in learning a foreign language.

All kidding aside, NFL Europe is primarily about work. Day in and day out you'd be out there on the field practicing your butt off. Then you'd go to meetings for hours on end. There was very little down time, which is probably the point of NFL Europe in the first place. They don't want you hanging around sightseeing when you could be learning something useful.

The coaches simplified most of the schemes so we'd pick them up pretty easily. That made sense as the guys all came from different backgrounds. What I learned there definitely helped me as far as my conditioning level and my overall understanding of the game of football. Nothing beats that kind of experience. The more you play, the better you get. It's as simple as that.

You either get your guy or he gets by you. If you miss, you mess up big time. It's pretty obvious, but it did hone my instincts for the game. Now that I am back, I find the schemes slightly more complicated but not a problem really. It's just a matter of repetition until every move becomes second nature.

I was proud of my sack total with the Centurions. That represented a lot of effort on my part. With more hard work, I think I can be equally successful doing that in the NFL. It's a specialized technique that emphasizes speed, power and forward motion. You have to be quick to get by the offensive line before they even know you are coming. It's a lot of fun when things work out right.

I think that I have definite skills I can contribute to the Bears. I am a good pass rusher. I'm quick and agile and am a pretty competitive guy. I don't hesitate to go after people. Putting a little scare into the players on the other side of the ball is a lot of fun for me.

It's great to be with the Bears. I've been with several different teams during my career, but I'd like to find a home here. The defense as a whole is strong and seems to tough lineup to crack, but the competition brings out the best in me every play. I think I can fit in quite well because I have good size coupled with my ability to use leverage an asset.

I also am definitely enjoying living in Chicago. It's a part of the country I'd never really seen before. There's a lot to do here and I'm having fun exploring the area.

What's my biggest adjustment so far? Well, on the field, it's learning the terminology and improving my speed and skill level. I want to build on the experiences I had playing in Europe. Off of the field, things are simpler. I need to come up with good pick up lines in English. Somehow I don't think what I used in Germany will be very successful over here.

The diary was a summary of an interview between Bradley and Beth Gorr.


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