Bills second-year linebacker, Chris White, had his rookie season cut short last year when he suffered an ACL tear. One of the lesser known long term rehabs from the Bills offseason, White is back and a member of the team's 53 man roster less than a year removed from the injury.
He made the team's roster last year as a sixth-round draft pick, but only saw minimal game time due to his mid-season injury. This summer he had more competition at linebacker in the form of a pair of 2012 draft choices and two free agent signees.
Recovering from the ACL injury to successfully make the team however, is what White savors most.
"It was definitely tough, I mean it wasn't easy coming back from ACL surgery, but I fought through it," said White. "In camp it was tough to fight through it, but I am glad I got through it and it is a lot better now."
Getting his knee healthy again was an uphill battle, but White believes that the situation has made him value the game more.
"It is rewarding. I appreciate it a lot more this year than last year because last year I was a rookie and didn't understand how tough it is in this league," White said. "Coming back from ACL surgery I definitely appreciate it more."
Bills head coach Chan Gailey has been impressed by the strides White has made since his injury last season.
"He is getting better every week. He's getting stronger. He's getting quicker. He's getting more comfortable back playing again," said Gailey. "He had his best game the other night, which was big for him and for us because we all know how good a job he did on special teams last year."
White had seven tackles in the Bills' preseason finale at Detroit, good for second-most on the team and also added a forced fumble.
The final roster cut down day is a very stressful time period for players as they await their fate. It can be the most exciting day of their lives, or it can be one of the most disappointing. In White's case, it was a obviously a rewarding day, but it was not easy waiting until nine o'clock at night to learn whether he had secured a roster spot or not.
"It was long," he said. "All I did was play X-Box all day and just waited for a phone call or no phone call, so it was definitely a long day."
During his rookie season, White was primarily used on special teams. He recorded eight tackles and forced two fumbles during some limited game action. He expects to see his role on special teams increase this year and he feels that his ability to play on special teams certainly helped him make the final roster.
"At linebacker I felt like I could do better sometimes, but I felt like I did a good job at some points and I think that special teams helped me out a lot.
"Definitely, they look at all that stuff and I was out there trying to do my best at linebacker and on special teams, so they look at all of that and they made a decision on that, which I am glad they did."
White will certainly play a role on the special teams unit this season and he fully embraces it. Now, he is just ready to get onto the field and make an impact whenever his number is called upon.
"I am definitely excited," he said. "I am just looking forward to this year and hopefully going to make some plays on special teams or wherever they ask me to play."