White 40 yards from first 1,000-yard season, credits linemen Print
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Thursday, 20 December 2007 12:59
NFL Headline News

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Tennessee running back LenDale White is entitled to an ``I told you so'' right about now.
The running back bypassed in 2006 by every team in the NFL once - even the Titans - is 40 yards from his first 1,000-yard rushing season. But he isn't taking the opportunity to jab back at his critics or those teams that chose not to draft Reggie Bush's partner at Southern California.
``Not at all,'' White said. ``You know the team that drafted me is the team I'm supposed to play at and where I'm supposed to be at. The other guys that passed up on me, they got to deal with it.''
White, who fell all the way to the 45th pick in the second round, has started every game this season for the Titans (8-6). He ranks ninth in the AFC with 960 yards rushing on 265 carries, sharing the work with veteran Chris Brown and rookie Chris Henry.
If he gets to 1,000 yards for the season, it will be the 10th time in 12 seasons the Titans have had a 1,000-yard rusher. Travis Henry, now in Denver, had 1,211 yards for Tennessee last season.
``It's always good when you can get a 1,000-yard rusher, and the fact we rotate running backs means that much more to have at least one guy be that consistent and get a lot of yards,'' left tackle Michael Roos said.
White, who has had four 100-yard games this season, could get to that mark Sunday against the New York Jets (3-11). Thomas Jones of the Jets has 963 yards rushing himself and is looking for his third straight 1,000-yard season, which would make him the fifth Jets back at that mark.
``LenDale has done a nice job,'' Jets coach Eric Mangini said. ``He's got very good balance, very good strength, excellent vision. And he's tough to deal with because he can cut back, he can bounce out, he can hit it up inside. So it's challenging to defend for the whole defense.''
White said reaching 1,000 yards would be a good mark for the offensive line.
``They worked their butts off. They do a good job freeing me up and getting me to the second level. Kevin (Mawae) and those guys should be rewarded for all they do,'' White said.
White put up big numbers in college, rushing for more than 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons. He also set a school record with 62 touchdowns rushing in three seasons.
His commitment to football was questioned when he came out after his junior season. He was slowed by a hamstring injury and added some weight. He wound up backing up Travis Henry before facing new questions this offseason about weight and whether he could last a full season.
White said he thinks he's answered those questions, especially from a couple of NFL Network analysts who doubted he could last even nine games, let alone play a whole season.
``I've been healthy. I've played in every game when they've called on me. I've been there when they needed me to do something. I'm there 30 carries a game, two carries a game, whatever it's been. I've been able to be healthy and be out there when the team needed me,'' White said.
``That's all that matters.''
Mawae said 1,000-yard seasons are seen as easy in the NFL with the 16-game schedule.
``Not the way we do it. It hasn't been 20- and 40-yarders down the road. It's been chipping away, 5s and 10s and 3s, and we've worked hard for our yards. Hopefully, LenDale can cross that threshold this weekend, and I think he will,'' Mawae said.
 

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