KANSAS CITY, Mo. (April 28, 2005) -- Jason White, who won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma but was snubbed in the NFL draft, is being given a chance by the Kansas City Chiefs.
White and other undrafted rookies will join the drafted players in a minicamp this weekend. White, who has not signed a contract, will be given a chance to show what he can do.
After the draft, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil and general manager Carl Peterson appeared to disagree on White's potential. "Carl felt the kid deserved a chance to work in a rookie camp so we brought him in," Vermeil said April 28.
White threw for 8,012 yards and 81 touchdowns at Oklahoma, winning the 2003 Heisman and taking the Sooners to consecutive national championship games in 2003 and '04.
However, many scouts felt his arm was not strong enough for the NFL. He also has had major reconstructive surgery on both knees.
But when he won the Heisman in 2003, he threw for 3,946 yards and 40 TDs. Last year he finished third in Heisman balloting.
"We're excited that Jason has an opportunity to pursue his goals and know that he'll make the most of this opportunity," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said in a statement.
"He has proven time and again that he can succeed at the highest level. He earned this shot at professional football and I like the fact that Carl Peterson, Dick Vermeil and the Chiefs recognize that, too. In getting to know him so well and in watching him go about his business here, there is nobody that I have been associated with during my career that I respect more or am more proud of than Jason White."
When Vermeil was asked after the draft why no one had drafted White, he said simply that the NFL "didn't evaluate him as talented enough to play at this level."
"He's been successful, but there have been a lot of college quarterbacks who have been successful and won Heisman Trophies and everything else who didn't play in the NFL," Vermeil said at the time. "He's no less a person. He's still an outstanding young man."
But Peterson made it clear that he admired White.
"I'm not sure he can't play in the National Football League," said the Chiefs' GM, who said he met White presenting him an award. "He's an extraordinary young man. You can't count him out. He's as tough-minded as anybody and he's had some great stats."
The Chiefs drafted Tulsa quarterback James Kilian on the second day of the draft.