INDIANAPOLIS — No play better illustrated how much Devin White’s foot injury has contributed to his inability to make plays than the touchdown run by Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew on Sunday.
The inside linebacker was 1-on-1 with Minshew on third and goal from the 2-yard line early in the second quarter of the Bucs’ 27-20 loss to the Colts.
Although White was able to get his right arm around Minshew’s waist, he couldn’t put on the brakes and overran the play.
Minshew ran the 40-yard dash in nearly 5 seconds at the NFL combine when he came out of Washington State in 2019. When healthy, White covers the same distance in 4.42 seconds.
But he lost the footrace to the end zone, and the play alone may have cost the Bucs a win what turned out to be a seven-point game.
“We were in a Cover 3,” White said. “I seen they were running a pitch play. They had a tight end coming under for the pitch, so I really held it for a long time so if (Minshew) pitched it I could make a play. Then he scrambled, and I tried to beat him to the pylon but he ended up stopping on a dime and cutting back.
“That’s one of those foot problems where you really can’t get in and out of your breaks like you want to and stop and cut back with him. So I tried to beat him to the pylon, and it was a better play by him. But I’ve got to be a little more athletic than that, because that’s a play I’ve got to make 10 out of 10.”
White spoke for several minutes following the game about the challenge he’s faced this season playing though pain.
The Bucs were without fellow inside linebacker Lavonte David, who is recovering from a groin injury. White did not practice until Friday last week and only on a limited basis. He still managed to record seven tackles and a quarterback hit.
That’s better than last week’s loss to the 49ers, when White had only three tackles.
“It’s really tough, but I never make excuses,” White said. “I’m just trying to give my guys that leadership and just make plays when I can, when my number is called. But at the end of the day, I’m never going to harp. I’m blessed to be in this profession and to do what I do. It will be very great to be healthy, all the way healthy.
“I will say I’m healthy enough to go, so that’s why I’m going to keep pushing it. Because at the end of the day, man, I’m laying it on the line for these guys.”
White is in the final year of his contract and playing under the fifth-year club option of $11.7 million. He asked for a trade in the offseason because he wants an extension similar to the $100 million contract the Ravens paid former Bears linebacker Roquan Smith.
But a secret meeting with head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Jason Licht in late March convinced White to focus on playing this season.
White said he has continued to gut it out because he wants to be on the field with his teammates.
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“I went through a lot from training camp with them,” White said. “But if I was 100% healthy, that would be better for me because I could do the things I love to do. Whether that’s just run, push off, cut.”
White said he gets around the clock treatment from the Bucs’ training staff.
“Morning, after practice. Even in the evening before we go home just so I can touch the field on Sundays,” he said. “And I’m thankful for them just to give me an opportunity, and I’ve just got to keep getting stronger with everything I’m dealing with.”
David, who leads the Bucs with 90 total tackles, entered Sunday’s game with 28 more than White.
White said he won’t make excuses for his play.
“I can’t put it on anybody else,” he said. “It’s me. I’ve got to take it. I’ve got to own it. I’ve got to go out there and fight.”
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