The Muddy Devin White Drama Continues

December 20th, 2023

What did he know and when?

What led Bucs coach Todd Bowles to deactivate Bucs inside linebacker Devin White? Questions continue to lurk.

This issue still continues to be muddy and vague. Some quick background: Devin White was listed as questionable for the game at Green Bay last Sunday. When the inactive list was released 90 minutes before kickoff, White was among the inactives.

This raised a red flag or two, especially when Stacey Dales of NFL Network reported White’s inactive status was not due to his injured foot.

Bowles then said Monday that White told him “Saturday or Friday” he couldn’t play on Sunday. No adjustment was made to the injury report (which is a no-no with the NFL). Bowles later in the same press conference said White told him Saturday.

There is speculation, which Bowles denied Monday — that when White was informed by Bowles that he would be in a rotation with K.J. Britt, White balked and then claimed he couldn’t play, despite being a full participant in Thursday and Friday’s practices. Bowles said on record at noon on Friday that White’s status would be a “game-day” decision.

Joe spoke with White on the record in the locker room after the win over the Packers and Joe published the story Sunday evening (someone in the Bucs’ media clique actually had the gall to ask Bowles if White was in Green Bay — WTF??? — even Jenna Laine of ESPN had Twitter video of him walking into the locker room Sunday night)

White told Joe his foot wasn’t healed enough to where he could play to his standard.

The immediate inference from both Bowles on Sunday and from White was this determination was made in Green Bay prior to the release of the inactive list.

Here is what Bowles said Sunday after the game:

“Well, I made him inactive based off him saying that he couldn’t go today so if he couldn’t go today, I made him inactive.”

Bowles then said further questions should be directed to White.

Bowles was again asked about the timeline today and Bowles seemed as if he’s about fed up talking about it.

“I’m going to say this one time: He was medically cleared to play. And he indicated he didn’t feel right and he informed me that he couldn’t play, he couldn’t go. We had ongoing conversations until Sunday morning. And when I decided to deactivate him when he got to the stadium he found out he was inactive.”

Bowles later added, “We want to see him at full health and we will go from there. He was fine when we talked about [rotating with Britt].

“He’s trying to do everything he can to help us win. We need him to help us win. … We are going to need all hands on deck.”

Joe knows a lot of readers are probably saying to themselves, “What’s the big deal?” There are three reasons.

If White told Bowles as early as two days before the game he couldn’t play despite being medically cleared, despite practicing fully Thursday and Friday and that he didn’t even try to test his foot in pregame warmups, then that tells Joe either the Bucs have a quitter in their ranks or a cancer, or maybe both. It sure doesn’t paint White in a good light.

Obviously, not updating the injury report is wrong. Yeah, so what, right? Well, all it takes is for NFL strongman Roger Goodell to wake up in a bad mood and dock the Bucs a draft pick for violating league rules.

So yeah, in Joe’s eyes, this is a big deal.

What Bowles ought to do to put this to bed once and for all is have the Bucs’ media relations put out a detailed and specific timeline of what Bowles knew and didn’t know and the specifics as to the “ongoing” conversations he had with White — and what led to the decision to declare him inactive.

The reason why people are confused is the message is still unclear and seems to be changing daily — which to Joe signals there is something more beneath the surface. Otherwise, why play cat-and-mouse?

Anyone remember the last time a star player was a healthy scratch in a critical late-season road game while the team fought for a playoff berth? That turned out pretty hairy, didn’t it?

A specific and detailed timeline issued by the Bucs’ media relations staff should end chatter about this subject. As the creator, curator and overall guru of Pro Football Talk, the great Mike Florio likes to say, “Silence invites speculation.”

Perhaps the reason  this issue still has holes in it is that Bowles might be covering for someone or something.

20 Responses to “The Muddy Devin White Drama Continues”

  1. Truth be Told Says:

    Devon White has shown his truly colors-besides the fact he is not as good as he thinks he is. Let him walk. Save the $$ for real Team players that want to be here. Buh-Bye!

  2. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Joe…”deactivate” is a strong term. Think back to Meshawn Johnson.

  3. Joe Says:

    Joe…”deactivate” is a strong term.

    That’s exactly what he did.

  4. AMI_Chris Says:

    Just let Bowles turn down the temperature on this entire narrative. No sense in hounding him any further. He’s already given a timeline, whether it’s accurate or not. It’s clearly some combination of White’s health and his desire, and Bowles is trying to calm the waters. Let him.

  5. Hodad Says:

    The simple thing to do is just tell the truth. If that paints White in a bad light so be it. Todd is his coach, not his P.R. man.

  6. Drunk Bucs Fan Says:

    Sorry, I don’t need a minute by minute breakdown of conversations between a coach and a linebacker. As a fan it’s win or lose.

    After 3-1 the pessimistic were “Let it play out”, then in the middle “Fire him now!”. Now after 3 wins, he isn’t Coach of the Year either. Let’s evaluate the full picture after 17 games. If he loses, thanks for the SB game plan and we move on. Win and good for him for saving his job.

  7. B.D Says:

    I think it would be up to the trainers to determine if he was healthy enough,if HE didn’t think he would be able to play,it does not mean he couldn’t be ready to play.a game time decision…. what’s the big issue? Nobody was trying to hide anything if you ask me.

  8. Larrd Says:

    Seems like a pretty normal “game time decision” to me. Or does it have to be within 10 minutes of kickoff or something.

    I have yet to see any reason to believe the initial report by Stacy Dales or the wild speculation promulgated by Stanford Genius and former Buc-for-a-moment Richard Sherman.

    Hopefully Britt starts Sunday and they bring White off the edge on third downs.

  9. dmatt Says:

    Oh well, if discovered that Bowles is fabricating his story, then that’s on him, his character, n possibly his job. Enabling DW is a result of… Fool me once (Ravens game 2022) shame on you, fool me twice (Colts game 2023 Minshew td) shame on me. DW need to grow up n TB need to coach up or bow down to a kid who will cost him his job, which is already on the line.

  10. Jmarkbuc Says:

    “He was fine with rotating “

    Seems like a helluva walk back from Bowles’ previous statement.

    He’s not a good coach, even if we did beat a Packers team that turned out not to be very good.

  11. Allbuccedup Says:

    That a team personal decision it should not made public until they deem necessary.

  12. Tim Says:

    We need him to help us win.

    Uh, not the last three weeks you didn’t, coach.

  13. Bosch Says:

    Bowels has two problems:
    1) He is not above lying to the media in order to avoid dealing with an issue straight on.
    2) This strategy backfires because he is not a good liar.

  14. Chris O Says:

    Can always count on JL to be locked in on the negative

  15. Dlavid Says:

    This fiasco is exactly why Bowles needs to go ! He can’t handle a problem like this ! He has no guts!!

  16. Bucs since 76 Says:

    Game time decision is just that the player will tell the coach if he can go. This has to happen before 1 and half hours before game time. White said his foot was still holding him back. Therefore Bowles listed him on the inactive list. The only one that cares about this story is the press. Let’s just forget about on move on to Jacksonville.

  17. BUCS4LIFE Says:

    Play or don’t play, this Bucs fan doesn’t give a tiny rats a$$. We got JAX in front of us whether he plays or not. Distractions such as this we do NOT need. Go Bucs!

  18. garro Says:

    Honesty from White and Bowles would also clear it up.

    Media people need to quit trying to make the news and simply report the facts. Specualtion leads to fans like me feeling like they are being made fools of.

    I personally take offense at that.

    Go Bucs!

  19. Chris O Says:

    @Garro Exactly! They turn the smallest BS into the biggest deal in hopes of blowing up our season.

  20. Bradley Brown Says:

    Hey joebucfan. Stop trying to act like you’re writing for a tabloid. This isn’t a soap opera. How about you shut the hell up about this until the end of the season? The Buccaneers have won three games in a row to keep themselves in position to win the division. Tonight they have a very real chance if the Rams can beat the saints. How about some good vibes around here? Knock off the Devin white chitchat.