“I was mad because I wanted to come back,” the linebacker said this week. “I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I wanted to finish my career there, be there for 10-plus years.”
Instead, White became a free agent and signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia. Now, he’s readying for Super Bowl LVII on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in nearby Glendale.
“I’m here on the biggest stage,” White said, smiling. “So I can’t really be that mad, right?”
The Chargers drafted White out of West Virginia in the fourth round in 2018, taking the safety with the plan of converting him to linebacker.
White began his rookie year as the starter opposite Denzel Perryman until a knee injury in Week 3 knocked him out for the season.
He continued to contribute — starting 17 of the 27 games he played — over the next two seasons.
In 2021, playing in then-new coach Brandon Staley’s system, White was able to remain healthy and used the extended opportunity to excel. Starting all 17 games, he led the Chargers with 144 tackles, adding two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
All of this earned him nothing long term, White explaining that the Chargers never made him an offer at a position — inside linebacker — that has limited value in their scheme and, increasingly, leaguewide.
Though he admitted to being upset over his departure, White said he held no ill will toward the Chargers and, in fact, remained a fan.
Travis and Jason Kelce are on opposing sides for the Chiefs and Eagles in the 2023 Super Bowl, and their father understands their competitive nature.
As for his former team, White said he watched in disbelief as the Chargers blew a 27-0 lead in losing their wild-card matchup last month in Jacksonville. He said he even stopped watching at one point.
“Midway through the third quarter, I started switching channels,” White said. “I knew it was over. Then my cousin was texting me saying, ‘Man, they’re coming back on the Chargers.’ I thought he was just playing around. I turned back and it was, ‘Dang, this is crazy.’ I felt bad for them.”
Hamlin, who has scarcely appeared in public since collapsing on the field in Cincinnati, gave a brief speech at the annual NFL Players Assn. news conference. Standing behind him were his parents, Mario and Nina.
As Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes readies to play in the 2023 Super Bowl with an injured ankle, Rams legend Jack Youngblood recalls playing with a broken tibia.
“Giving back to my community has always been a big part of who I am,” Hamlin said. “I’m thankful to my father, who’s right here behind me. Growing up, just watching him do community days in our community, and I just always was waiting on my time when it came.”
When he was in college at Pittsburgh, Hamlin started a GoFundMe with an initial goal of $2,500 for a toy drive and other charities in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pa. That grew to more than $9 million during his recovery because of donations from fans around the country.
Former USC running back Ronald Jones won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay at the end of the 2020 season, rushing for 61 yards in 12 carries in the Buccaneers’ 31-9 victory over Kansas City.
Now he is a member of the Chiefs, backing up Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and, possibly Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was activated this week from injured reserve.
“I’m just blessed to be here again,” said Jones, 25. “Soaking up every moment.”
Long before advancing to the Super Bowl in Arizona to play the Kansas City Chiefs, the Philadelphia Eagles were close to calling Phoenix their new home.
Last March, Jones signed a one-year contract with the Chiefs. He was inactive for the first 10 games but has played in the last four.
“The role is different, but that’s about it,” he said. “The excitement and all that is still there whether I get one play or 100 plays. I’m just excited to be here and being able to live in this moment with my family an my teammates.”
Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer, will be honored Thursday with the Daniel M. Rooney Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation for “his dedication and long-term meritorious history to improve the workplace surrounding the game of football,” according to a news release.
“It’s terrific for the team to get recognized for our work to make the Rams more diverse and more accessible,” Demoff said Wednesday.
“I view this as a team award, and I’m fortunate as the head of the organization that my name went on the award. But this for all of us at the Rams who have worked very hard to make our sport more equitable.”
Jeff Miller is the Chargers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times. He previously spent 20 years as a sports columnist for the Orange County Register and, before that, the Miami Herald. He also served as the Angels beat writer for The Times and the Register. His other stops include the Palm Beach Post and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Gary Klein covers the Los Angeles Rams for the Los Angeles Times. Before that, he covered USC’s football program and athletic department. He began working for The Times in the San Fernando Valley edition and has reported on high school, college and pro sports. He grew up in Southern California and graduated from Cal State Northridge.
Honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his “long and distinguished reporting in the field of pro football,” Sam Farmer has covered the NFL for 25 seasons. A graduate of Occidental College, he’s a two-time winner of California Sportswriter of the Year and first place for beat writing by Associated Press Sports Editors.