MOBILE, Ala. — West Virginia safety Kyzir White, the younger brother of Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White, leaned on Kevin's knowledge of the NFL and the draft process to help him as he starts his journey to the league at the Senior Bowl this week.
But Kyzir has been able to help out Kevin, too — by pushing him while he rehabilitates an injury and having his back when the naysayers start crowing about Kevin being a draft bust to this point.
"It’s definitely difficult for me," Kyzir White said about hearing the criticism aimed at his older brother. "If I see anything on Twitter, I kind of want to respond, but I don’t. That’s my big brother at the end of the day. I don’t like people talking bad about him. They don’t know what he brings to the table."
The two have been training together out at the EXOS facility near Phoenix, Arizona (along with youngest brother, Ka'Raun) prior to this week and will continue to do so once Kyzir finishes his work at the Senior Bowl. Kevin White is rehabbing a broken shoulder that cost him the bulk of his 2017 season. He has played in a grand total of five games over three NFL seasons with the Bears, who was GM Ryan Pace's first draft pick — No. 7 overall that year.
As Kyzir and Kevin work side by side, younger brother is more convinced now than ever to see Kevin bounce back. Kyzir is tired of hearing critics bash Kevin for things that he feels have been out of his control to this point.
"Very frustrating. He’s very talented. Hardest worker I know," Kyzir said this week. "The cards he’s being dealt right now just aren’t the best. He just is trying to stick it out. A lot of people got a lot of bad stuff to say. But when he turns it around, they’ll see."
So far, it has been a strong start through two days' worth of practice with the North Team, coached by the Denver Broncos' staff. White has made plays on the ball on both days. On Tuesday, White intercepted Nebraska's Tanner Lee easily after reading the QB's eyes before the throw. Then on Wednesday, White flashed his sticky coverage ability — at a hearty 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds — against two tight ends, Wisconsin's Troy Fumagalli and Central Michigan's Tyler Conklin, on a stop route and a fade, respectively.
White fits the mold of the modern box safety who can cover bigger receivers, backs and tight ends. After junior college, White played in 25 games for the Mountaineers the past two seasons and made 152 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles and three interceptions. He played WVU's "Spur" position, which is a hybrid of safety and linebacker.
"You can play me at linebacker or strong safety, or whatever safety spot you want," Kyzir said. "I feel like I have a lot of versatility. I’m covering slot receivers, I am blitzing, playing on the back end sometimes."
The White brothers have spoken this week, and they'll reunite following Saturday's Senior Bowl game back in Arizona to continue prepping. For Kevin, it's rehab to get him back in shape to help the Bears next season. For Kyzir, it's pushing himself alongside his mentor and protector.
"It’s great," Kyzir said. "[Working with Kevin] gives me a lot of motivation, a lot of aspirations."
But don't overlook Kyzir's role in helping Kevin back to where he needs to get. The younger brother has taken his role of motivator seriously, too.
Said Kyzir, "I just told [Kevin], 'God gives his tougher battles to his toughest soldiers. He’s obviously putting you through this for a reason. You can handle it. Just keep going. Don’t listen to the outside noise. Things will be good.'"