One day, his name was being chanted by Jets fans. Two weeks later, he was benched. Then, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was sidelined for nearly a month.
What a wild year it has been for Mike White.
“It’s the roller-coaster of it,” the quarterback said Friday over Zoom. “But that’s sports. That’s professional sports, especially as a backup quarterback. Those things are going to come.”
White returned to practice this week and will serve as Zach Wilson’s backup on Sunday against the Jaguars after veteran Joe Flacco was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. White said he only had very mild symptoms, but also caught the flu, which delayed his return.
“I was super lucky,” he joked.
White-mania was short-lived. He started on Halloween in place of the injured Wilson and led the Jets to one of their three wins, throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-31 victory over the Bengals. He completed 37 passes, the most ever in NFL history by a quarterback in his first start. The following Thursday, he started well against the Colts, tossing a touchdown pass to Elijah Moore, but sat the final three quarters due to a right forearm injury that resulted in numbness in two fingers.
Thirteen days later, the magic was gone. He was picked off four times by the Bills in a one-sided loss and was replaced by the veteran Flacco the following week.
“As a competitor, you want to go out there and [redeem] yourself after a game you know wasn’t your best and you could play better,” the 26-year-old White said. “It was tough, but I kind of prided myself on being a team guy. As a quarterback these things happen. You got to stay the course. You can’t pout. You can’t get mad or anything of that nature.”
He ran the gamut. Ultimately, though, White thinks he will be better for it. He’s gone through multiple extremes.
“I learned from how to deal with the highs, I learned how to deal with the lows,” White said, “and I’ll learn from this and gain the experience and hopefully it’ll help me along the way.”