White had been given the opportunity to seek out a trade over the off-season. Although a number of teams, among them the Cardinals, Steelers, and Buccaneers, were rumored to be interested, it was impossible to agree on a value for the shifty running back.
The running back signed a new contract prior to last season, and attempts to trade him were likely weighed down by the size of his 2004 salary, as well as the need to pay White a $350,000 roster bonus. The timing of the release was tied to the roster bonus, as it would have been required by 4PM today if White was still on the roster.
White was acquired off of late-Summer waivers from the Indianapolis Colts in 2000. Prior to the Colts, White had re-written the record books at the University of South Dakota, eclipsing the team's previous single-season rushing mark by over 800 yards. White was not drafted, however, and came to the Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent.
After being picked up by the Browns, White earned a reputation as one of the hardest-working members of the team and one of the most active participants in the off-season workout program. White gained 1,324 yards on 349 carries in his Browns career, with an 1,273 yards on 166 catches. He scored twice receiving and nine times running the football.
There were a number of situations where, due to injury, White was able to make contributions as a starter for the Browns. Especially memorable was a 2001 game against the Green Bay Packers where White amassed over 210 total yards rushing and receiving. White also had an excellent game against the Rams in 2003, running for over 100 yards.
As 2003 went on, however, it was clear that White had moved to #4 on the team's depth chart at running back. The drafting of William Green in 2002 and the emergence of Lee Suggs at the end of the 2003 season made it clear to White that he was not going to get significant rushing opportunities if he remained with Cleveland.
White is now free to sign with any NFL club without compensation to the Browns.