Vivlamore reporting from Falcons training camp.
Flowery Branch – It’s been a whirlwind few months for Aron White.
The tight end, out of the University of Georgia, was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and then went undrafted in April. He was, however, invited to the Falcons rookie minicamp in May on a tryout. White made enough of an impression to be signed and brought to training camp.
Now, just three months after the disappointment, he is sharing the practice field with the likes of Tony Gonzalez. White is one of six tight ends in camp fighting for likely three roster spots.
“Draft day came and any time you don’t get picked up you are going to have the momentary setback, that momentary disappointment,” White said after a recent practice. “When I got the call for the tryout I was overjoyed to get that opportunity. And the fact that of all the guys that were trying out during that rookie minicamp, they chose me and wanted to bring me on was very encouraging. I try to stay as positive as I can working forward from there. I know it’s a wide open opportunity here. We’ve got one guy who is a beast but beside that everybody is fighting as hard as they can to secure as many tight end spots as they are going to have on the roster.”
White said he is using every opportunity to benefit from being around Gonzalez, whom he called “the greatest to ever play.”
“Anything that he does mention, you try to take in as much as possible and be a sponge,” White said. “At the same time, you don’t want to crowd a guy. We all have to act professionally and take care of our own business. Any knowledge that he does share, I’m trying to soak it up.”
White finished his Georgia career with 34 catches for 512 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is well known for one particular touchdown catch – a reception that his Falcons teammates are slowly becoming aware.
In the closing seconds of the first half in a game against New Mexico State at Sanford Stadium last season, White caught a touchdown from Aaron Murray, ran out of the side of the end zone, had to leap over a piece of band equipment and disappeared into the famed hedges. It took several seconds for teammates to help White out of the shrubbery for the celebration to ensue.
“It’s funny because about once a week one of my Falcon teammates will say ‘I didn’t know that was you. I’ve watched you on YouTube. I saw you on SportNation 101 Celebration Fails,’” White said. “I say ‘I appreciate that. I play football, too.’ At the same time, it’s all good, it’s all fun. It’s a memory I’ll have forever and it doesn’t embarrass me or make me feel bad.”
- Chris Vivlamore