White vacationing, waiting for new deal

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Greg White became one of the best stories of the 2007 season, thanks to his rise from the AFL to the Bucs' sacks leader. Find out what he's up to and why he's not under contract for 2008 in this exclusive premium feature.

Greg White admits he doesn't know all the technical jargon regarding his contract status with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But he's just glad he's in a position where it actually affects him.

The 28-year old defensive end — who came out of nowhere to lead the Buccaneers in sacks in 2007 — is an exclusive rights free agent, which means all the Bucs have to do is make White (6-foot-3, 270 pounds) a qualifying offer to keep him. At the moment, White does not have a contract, but can't negotiate with any other club unless the Bucs decline to offer him a contract.

The Bucs signed him to a one-year contract on Aug. 4, on the recommendation of Jay Gruden, Jon Gruden's brother and White's coach on the Orlando Predators.

Since White notched a team-high eight sacks and tied a team record with seven forced fumbles last season, a contract offer would seem pretty likely, based on a recent signing.

Safety Kalvin Pearson was an exclusive rights free agent last year and the Buccaneers extended him a new deal, even though Pearson was only a special teams standout. Pearson received a one-year deal in 2007 and is a restricted free agent this offseason.

A contract offer would mean an end to White's itinerant ways. While the official roster says White is a first-year player, he's spent time with at least six different NFL teams, plus his two-year stint with the AFL's Orlando Predators, since being selected in the seventh round of the 2002 draft by the Houston Texans.

Even in 2007 White moved three times — to east Orlando, from east Orlando to west Orlando and to Tampa.

"And that was a slow year for me," White said during a phone conversation on Tuesday.

White made just $270,000 in 2007. But that sum was the biggest of his pro career so far.

The salary will allow him some comfort this offseason. White doesn't have to get one of the many part-time jobs that have become part of his story, such as pizza delivery driver, syrup factory worker or Best Buy security guard.

After the Bucs fell to the New York Giants in the playoffs, he took a week off to spend with his family up in his native New Jersey. In a couple of weeks, White will treat himself to a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

The usually jovial White has enjoyed his newfound fame this season, but it's come with a byproduct — everyone knows him. And that includes player agents. He said at least two player agents have approached him about representing him, now that's he's "had success," in White's words.

White's agent since day one of his pro career has been La Jolla, Calif., based agent Jack D. Bechta and he said he has no intention of changing agents.

"Let me tell you what he did for me," White said. "When I came out of college, he co-signed the loan on my car. Not even my family did that. He did that for me and I was a seventh-round draft pick."

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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