LenDale White looking forward to a clean slate

Published on May 25, 2010 by     

LenDale White has been toward the top of the league’s rushing leaders, surpassing the millennium mark in 2007 in spite of a bum wheel and extra baggage.

“I’ve had 1,000 yards at 265 (pounds) with a torn meniscus,” White said, referring to a knee injury.

He has also been at the bottom of a running back rotation, watching much of last season from the sidelines in Tennessee.

Oh, he understands why. He was behind one of the game’s most dangerous backs as teammate Chris Johnson surpassed 2,000 yards rushing.

But White is a competitor who reached the NFL with the hope of being ‘The Man,’ not backing him up.

“Going through the situation in Tennessee, sitting the bench for the whole year, dealing with that alone, that’s a lot of stress,” White said. “When you go from ‘SC, back-to-back national championships to being the guy playing some more, scoring some touchdowns, and then not playing at all, it’s a life-changing thing.

“But I guess we go through it for a reason. And I’m still here. Pete [Carroll] gave me another shot, and I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get it going.”

Just where White will fit into Seattle’s backfield is one part of one of the most intriguing questions about this team.

Seattle traded for White and then for Leon Washington, adding the pair to a backfield that already included Julius Jones and Justin Forsett.

There have been no promises of playing time or even predictions of roster spots. It’s one big free-for-all, and White brings a physical style and a rebuilt physique to the position.

Conditioning was a question early in his career when he was up over 250 pounds. And now? He’s actually planning on gaining some weight as he’s at 219 pounds and plans to play about 228.

“We need to talk to MetRx and get a deal for me,” he joked.

He rushed for 222 yards last season, a career low as Johnson became Tennessee’s workhorse.

White didn’t resent Johnson’s success. They were close after all. White coined the nickname “Smash and Dash” in 2008, and bristled when the same moniker became affixed to Carolina’s duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. White suggested a handle of “Identity and Theft” would be more appropriate.

And White was nothing but complimentary about Johnson, his success and (not insignificantly) his former teammate’s bargaining position.

“He’s a 2,000-yard rusher so whatever he asks for, he should be able to get,” White said of Johnson, whom he saw last weekend in Texas at Vince Young’s youth camp.

But after a year of watching someone else run, White is ready to get rolling himself.

“I feel like I had to go through them trials and tribulations to get to this point, where I’m at now,” he said. “I feel comfortable here. I feel great. So I feel like this is the start of something new, but it’s also the start of greatness now.”

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