TAMPA — Linebacker Devin White had only been a member of the Buccaneers for a few hours but already was talking about the special bond he had made with Kacey Reynolds, the young fan from Maysville, Ga., who fulfilled a wish for both of them by announcing White as the team’s first-round pick in the 2019 draft.
Coach Bruce Arians arranged for Reynolds and his parents to accompany White on a private plane from the NFL draft in Nashville to Tampa.
“That’s my guy, Kasey,” White said at his introductory news conference in April as Reynolds sat in the first row.
On Sunday, the Bucs announced that Reynolds had died after a three-year battle with Hodgkin lymphoma. He was 19.
“We are saddened by the passing of Buccaneers fan Kacey Reynolds. Our hearts go out to his family,” the Bucs tweeted. “Kacey announced our first-round pick at last year’s draft as his Make-A-Wish experience and will forever be part of the Buccaneers family.’’
"I’m so happy he got to put the pick in,” White said during that April news conference. “That don’t happen too often, you know, the commissioner does it. When he came up there and he said my name, the first thing I told him was, ‘I thank you for saying my name. Without, you, hey, I wouldn’t be here.’ He got the pick in. I thank him. He rode up here on the jet. Him and his family are great. … I know this is not the end of our relationship. We’re going to stay in touch, and it’s a blessing to be a blessing to another person, and Kasey, if you don’t know it, you were a blessing to me last night.”
Reynolds then met former Bucs coach Tony Dungy and played pool at the facility with Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans.
In fact, Reynolds had learned that he would be announcing the Bucs’ first-round pick by listening to a video at his school of Evans delivering the news.
Evans reacted to the news of Reynolds’ death on Twitter: “This one hurts, man. You loved the squad regardless of the outcome. It was great getting to know you. RIP my friend.’’