DECEMBER 15, 3:05pm: The Bears made it official today, announcing (via Twitter) that White will remain on the PUP list for the rest of the 2015 season, postponing his NFL debut to 2016.
DECEMBER 11, 10:35am: According to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter links), the Bears are still mulling over their final decision on White, and will likely announce it on Tuesday. It’s not clear whether that decision simply involves activating him vs. leaving him on PUP, or if Jahns is suggesting there’s still a chance he could play this season. The Sun-Times scribe follows up by saying that White’s long-term health “remains of utmost importance” for Chicago, which suggests the rookie remains very unlikely to see the field this year.
8:56am: After being drafted seventh overall in the spring, wide receiver Kevin White won’t make his NFL debut during his rookie season with the Bears, reports Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune. According to Wiederer, there’s a possibility Chicago will activate White to the 53-man roster from the physically unable to perform list before Tuesday’s deadline, but even if that were to happen, the first-year wideout wouldn’t play in a game.
White, 22, was the second receiver off the board in the 2015 NFL draft, behind Amari Cooper, and is one of a handful of first-year wideouts that has struggled to make an impact this season. Besides White, Breshad Perriman of the Ravens has also been unable to play this year due to injury, while DeVante Parker (Dolphins), Nelson Agholor (Eagles), and Phillip Dorsett (Colts) have combined for a total of just 38 receptions.
Even though White won’t play this season, he has made good progress in recovering from the stress fracture in his leg, according to Wiederer. This is my speculation, but if White were a veteran player, or if the Bears were in position for a playoff spot, the team would likely be more inclined to have him suit up this season. As is, it makes more sense for Chicago to protect its top pick, ensuring that he’s back to 100% health for the 2016 season.
The most likely scenario for White over the season’s final four weeks is that he remains on the PUP list, continuing to work on his recovery off to the side with the Bears’ trainer and strength and conditioning coaches.