There is no reason for Kyzir White to look back, because everything he sees now is so positive: He's with an Eagles coaching staff that understands his strengths and wants to play to them in a defense that could very well give him plenty of opportunities to make plays. He is in a locker room that welcomed him with open arms, easing any concerns of a transition to a new team. He is near his hometown of Emmaus, PA, so that his family and friends can share in his success.
"I'm loving every bit of it here," White said, smiling, the preseason behind this football team with the September 11 opener in Detroit in full focus. "This is working out just the way I wanted."
White played four seasons with the Chargers and made all the necessary progressions for success: His playing time increased year over year after being selected by the Chargers in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. His production did, too. By the end of 2021, White was a 17-game starter who played 84 percent of the defensive snaps and in doing so led Los Angeles with a career-high 144 tackles. It was the best season of his career. White entered free agency and agreed to terms with the Eagles on a one-year contract for the 2022 season back on March 26.
"I plan on making the most of the opportunity," White said when he arrived at the NovaCare Complex.
He has done that, very much so. White enjoyed a solid spring learning the defense and then became a daily standout in Training Camp and in the preseason action, however limited, he played. An off-ball linebacker who has speed and coverage skills dating back to his day as a safety in college at West Virginia, White swarmed to the football in practice and then was the one who stepped up with the big interception and return to set up a touchdown in the lone preseason game played at Lincoln Financial Field.
With a section filled with his friends and family, White had his "it" moment: He was back in Philadelphia playing for a team he grew up rooting for – White's first Eagles game attended was the "Snow Bowl" in 2013 – and everyone who loved him was there to share in the moment.
"It was a special night," White said after that preseason game. "Making that play, so many people here watching me, it's something truly special. It's a dream come true."
Now the dream extends into the regular season, when things get, well, real. Not just a run-around linebacker, White is a burly 234 pounds and the Eagles are excited to see him fit into Jonathan Gannon's scheme now that the games are going to count. The Eagles have revamped their linebacker corps by adding White and Haason Reddick in free agency and taking Nakobe Dean in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Combined with the way T.J. Edwards has played – much like White, Edwards has made steady growth year over year – the linebacking corps was one of the highlights of the summer. The Eagles are young, dynamic, and versatile in the middle of their defense and that fits White just fine.
"I can't wait to get it going to really find out what we're all about on defense," he said. "It's week to week in this league, but you want to establish yourself right away. I'm excited. I think we have a lot of good pieces in a great scheme and we're coming together. These next two weeks are intense times to continue to work and improve day by day and then put it all together when the regular season starts. That's when you find out, right?
"Right now, I couldn't be more optimistic."
Who's to argue? It took a minute to find the right fit in free agency, but isn't patience a virtue? After a spring getting his feet wet and a summer establishing himself in the defense and in the locker room, White is ready to be the best version of himself. And he couldn't have found a better place to do so – just down the street, if you will, from home, sweet, home so that so many of his friends and family can share in the success.
"That's the idea, to keep getting better and better. It's all about working hard and being accountable and preparing myself and then going out and having fun doing something I love," he said. "I appreciate being here. It's been great, and it's just starting."
On the eve of the NFL Draft, here's a look at the five players who the Eagles added in free agency – LB Haason Reddick, WR Zach Pascal, LB Kyzir White, DT Renell Wren, and WR Devon Allen.