LenDale White Talks USC Probation, Pete Carroll, Snoop Dogg and the Seahawks
Before you read any individual quotes, I'd suggest you go here and listen to the entire 25 minute interview to get the full context of the quotes that follow. White answered every question in a straight-forward manner, particularly his relationship with former USC and current Seahawk coach Carroll and what White thought of the probation his college program now faces.
Asked what he thought of USC athletic director Mike Garrett's contention that he didn't know of any improprieties at the program, White replied, "I don't want to bad mouth nobody, but as big as this scale is and as much as they (the NCAA) saying somebody took, for you not to know anything is kind of unbelievable to me. I don't know. If you're the athletic director I'm pretty sure you get wind of something, that somebody's put something in your ear. When I was going to school there, and we were partying too much on campus, coaches could show up at our dorm room and tell us to calm the partying down. But you can't tell if somebody took a $750,000 home? I don't know. It's weird to me."
Asked about Reggie Bush's alleged violations, White replied, "I don't know what took place. I still don't know. I wasn't the athletic director nor was I the head coach at that time. I had no clue all that stuff was going on. I think if I was the head of the school...I think I would have some kind of idea of what was going on."
Expounding upon his relationship with his college and pro head coach, Pete Carroll, White was initially hesitant, "I could get into all that," White said, "but then the newspaper clippings are going to read that I'm mad at Pete or maybe I'm mad because I got cut. But like I said...me and Pete were just me and Pete. If you look back at the tape, he wasn't hugging me after I scored touchdowns or after I broke the SC rushing record. I was the player and he was the coach and that's how we kept it. I didn't get a phone call from Pete ever, to ask about my grandmother or anything like that."
Asked whether he believed Pete Carroll could have been unaware of what was alleged at USC, White joked, "I don't know. Maybe the boosters were paying him as well. I don't know. Maybe they told him to keep it quiet." Then he turned more serious, "You never know ... It would be really hard for me to sit here and say if I was the head coach of a program -- (Titans coach) Jeff Fisher knows everything we do, if we throw a party in the city of Nashville, he's got the flier sitting on his desk -- he (Fisher) knows every single thing you do. So it's hard for me to say that if somebody got a brand new home or supposedly got a brand new car or something, that you (Pete Carroll) wouldn't know. To me that's baloney. Honestly. He (Pete Carroll) would know. You have to know. Especially when you're in Hollywood, California. It's not hard."
White then laughed and said, "Hey, if I knew something like that (probation) was going to happen, I'd definitely jump out. Especially if I was getting paid $8 million dollars a year."
White is making a lot less than $8 million a year and is presently without a job since being cut by Carroll.
That led to this interlude:
I asked this question: "How shocked were you when your old head coach Pete Carroll, a guy I'm assuming you had a lot of trust for after what y'all went through at USC, the success you had, how shocked were..."
White, interjecting: "I don't know about trust. I don't really know about trust. I played for him. There was guys there that I did trust like Todd McNair, Lane Kiffin, even Steve Sarkisian, but some of those other guys, they're just a face. Sometimes they're just a face to an organization."
White confessed that his release surprised him. "I was shocked. I'm still shocked. I would figure if there was a problem or anything needed to be said or done, that my old coach would grab me to the side and whisper something in my ear and tell me step it up or do something different. I would figure that."
Instead, White says Carroll gave him no warning whatsoever that a release was coming. Asked how he found out that he'd been released, White replied, "Thursday (the day before the release) when I was leaving practice, Pete Carroll hugged me and told me everything was going well. I thought everything was fine. I went to Vegas, just having fun for Memorial Day weekend and then I get a call Friday morning telling me they're going in another (direction). I never really got an explanation."
White was in Las Vegas with former Titan teammates Jevon Kearse, Chris Johnson, Vince Young, Keith Bullock and Bo Scaife. "It (the news) pops up on the screen that I got cut," White said, "We're all at a pool party and it's one of the most humbling experiences in the world when you've got to explain to all your peers around you that you just got cut."
Who came to White's rescue at his lowest point in Las Vegas?
"He (Snoop Dogg) was in Vegas when it all happened," White said, "and he was just so disappointed for me. He actually stopped what he was doing to come and take me for about an hour-and-a-half ride. To see what my head was and to tell me that things do happen in life and it's just how you bounce back. And it was crazy because the first thing he told me was, you never had to go through a murder trial, and have your whole life almost taken away from you. So it's crazy that you have people like that in your corner that can actually share their life experiences with you...and let you know that you should be able to bounce back 10 times harder."
As for one man that wasn't in his corner, White called Carroll to ask why he'd been released and received no answer. "I called Pete and I asked him what was going on and Pete never knows why anything," White said. "Pete beat around the bush, I don't know, he just said it wasn't going to work out and they'd decided to go in a new way. I asked him if there's anything I did and he didn't really give me an answer."
According to White, he worked hard, arriving early and leaving late, doing everything he could to make a push for the starting job in Seattle.
"Me and Pete have history from SC," said White, "and everything wasn't always great there. We all know that."
As for the probation left behind in the wake of Carroll's departure from USC, White believes it's unfair. "I don't think 100 kids on a football team should be punished for whatever somebody else's actions were," White said. "I think if they deem him (Reggie Bush) ineligible, let him forfeit his stuff. And I don't mean to knock Reggie at all because I still don't know everything.
"I don't think whatever he (Bush) got helped us win thirty-something straight games in a row. Honestly."
White said he believed Lane Kiffin, who recruited White to the Trojans, would have still taken the USC job even if he'd known the probation was coming. "Lane (Kiffin) competes more than anybody," White said, "There's probably something under his skin that says if Pete Carroll could do this there, then watch what I do."
For now White says he's waiting for his next opportunity in the NFL and is convinced he can still be a starting running back in the league. That is, once he serves his four-game suspension.
"I'm still 225, I'm in shape, I feel good," White said.
Asked if there was any team in the NFL that he thought would be a good fit, White joked, "Uh, yeah, the Titans since they don't have a running back right now with Chris Johnson."
In the understatement of the NFL offseason, White continued, "Obviously, Seattle wasn't the best place for me."
Again, you can listen to the entire 25 minute interview by clicking here.