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'A Switch of Pace'

Posted Jan 27, 2011

As LenDale White continues to work back to health after a season-ending injury, the running back said the time away from the field has granted him a new perspective on his career.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- LenDale White entered the offseason hoping to resume running by the end of this month.

The goal represented the latest step in the running back's lengthy rehabilitation since an Achilles injury in the Broncos' final preseason game ended his 2010 regular season.

But as he moves closer to a return to the football field, White said he will focus on what he can control. That means adopting a simple approach to his comeback.

"If Daniel Graham is here, I'm going to be here," White said, gesturing toward the veteran tight end seated a few lockers away on a late December day. "He's got the record for attendance, so I'm going to try to catch him."

After a lost season, White, who topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark in 2007 with Tennessee, said he's more focused than ever on becoming a productive NFL rusher once again. The Colorado native vowed to finish his rehab strong, closing a period that has proven one of the toughest challenges of his five-year career.

The Broncos signed White on Aug. 5 after injuries to Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter early in training camp. He missed time soon after joining the squad with an ankle injury of his own.

The former second-round pick out of USC bounced back to play in a pair of preseason games. He finished with 17 carries for 53 yards and a team-high two rushing touchdowns before going down with his season-ending injury on an early second-quarter carry in Minnesota on Sept. 3. The Broncos placed White on injured reserve a day later.

As his teammates continued through a 4-12 regular season, White had surgery and spent the last several months focused on getting healthy.

At first, the progress was slow and watching his team from the sidelines or on TV took getting used to.

"To be honest, I was down, man," White acknowledged.

But as the rehab picked up and the running back started spending four to five days per week working out at the team's Dove Valley facility, he said he started to find a silver lining to the injury.

"It's a switch of pace," White said. "It makes you take a step back and re-evaluate what's going on in your personal life -- things you need to cut out, things you need to turn back on. It's a lot of time for you personally to get your life together. I'm thankful for that."

That newfound perspective is reflected in his goals going forward.

White said he "can't wait" for the day when he will be able to run again, but he's also just happy to be able to walk without pain. While the 26-year-old won't rush the process, he believes he'll be ready soon.

In previous offseasons, White has split time between Nashville, Tenn., Los Angeles and Denver. He said he'll be sticking close to home this time around and spending as much time as possible at Dove Valley as he works his way back into shape.

White said he still has quite a bit of work left to do, pointing to his still-massive thighs, which have lost some of their girth over the past few months. But the 6-foot-1, 235-pound bruiser remains confident in his ability to get back to the form that allowed him to rush for a combined 2,349 yards and 24 touchdowns in his first four seasons.

In White's mind, each workout brings him closer to adding the boost to the Broncos backfield he envisioned when he returned to his hometown team.

"I believe that if I'm healthy I can bring something else to the game," White said. "I'm not saying Knowshon (Moreno) and these guys didn't the job done (this year). I just want to be a change of pace -- be something they're not. Hopefully, I can be whatever they need me to be."