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Steelers All 90: Team a Family Affair for WR Cody White

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Steelers Cody White

The Pittsburgh Steelers originally signed Cody White to the team’s practice squad in 2020 but the Michigan State product has found a way to not only stick around but has appeared in 16 games in the last two seasons. White not only respects the Steelers organization, but he also has somebody in the building to lean on in times of need, his father Sheldon White.

Sheldon is the Steelers’ Director of Professional Scouting and has manned that role since May of 2022. Everybody knows a father that is a coach and usually they favor their child over others, but Cody’s and Sheldon’s relationship is not like that because they both know that they are in a professional business.

That is not to say that they do not love each other and Sheldon even stated that he watches Cody from afar and is blessed to take in the moments that he does of his son.

“The catch in training camp [last year,] when he reached back and grabbed it out of nowhere? It’s just another moment I was blessed enough to be there because I’m working there to see it,” said Sheldon White. “As a dad, it’s something you keep for your own. If I’m having a bad day or need a little break, I save that. You don’t miss the moments. Enjoy it all. He’s been blessed enough to find a value for Coach (Mike) Tomlin for three years. That’s the way I look at it.”

Cody is grateful to be so close to his father but acknowledged how distant they stay while inside of the facility. He mentioned that while some teammates figure it out, most do not even know that the two are father and son.

“Some guys come up to me, like last year, guys came up to me in Week 16 and were like, ‘Man, I didn’t even know that was your dad.’ It’s crazy,” Cody White said. “It’s because we do not communicate in the building. You would never even know. Some people figure it out right away, some other people just didn’t know.”

Regardless of the relationship that White has inside the building, he is set to face heavy competition for a roster spot in 2023. With newcomers such as Hakeem Butler and last year’s draft pick Calvin Austin III, White will have to show that he can become a regular on special teams or really show out as a receiver in training camp and the preseason to secure himself a spot.

The Steelers usually carry about seven wide receivers on their active roster and with about four of those spots already taken by guys such as Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson II, and Austin, White faces an uphill battle to secure a spot on the active roster come Week 1.

15 • Cody White, Wide Receiver, Michigan State
6-foot-3, 215 pounds, 24 years old, 4th Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed White to their practice squad on Sept. 24, 2020, and he has been a part of the organization ever since.

Last SeasonPrior to the 2022 season, the Steelers waived White but re-signed him to the practice squad a day later.

White played in one game and recorded one reception for two yards. His lone appearance came in Week 12 against the Indianapolis Colts. White spent the rest of the season on the Steelers practice squad.

He signed a reserve/future contract with the Steelers on Jan. 10, 2023.

Steelers Cody White

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Cody White (15) participates in the Organized Team Activities (OTAs), Thursday June 10, 2021 at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

CareerAfter a successful career at Michigan State, White went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. He later signed with the Kansas City Chiefs but was waived before training camp started. Then, White signed with the New York Giants but was waived within a week. After that, he signed with the Denver Broncos but was a part of the team’s final roster cuts prior to the 2020 season.

White signed with the Steelers on Sept. 24, 2020, and he stayed on the team’s practice squad for the entire season. In January of 2021, White signed a reserve/future contract with the Steelers for the 2021 season. White appeared in 15 games for the Steelers in 2021, mostly on special teams but hauled in five receptions for 33 yards. In his NFL debut in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, White hauled in two receptions for 17 yards. His other three receptions came in Week 16 against the Chiefs when he recorded three catches for 16 yards.

Over his first three seasons, White has caught six receptions on seven targets and 35 yards.

Year GP Targets Receptions Yards AVG TDs PFF Rating
2020 0 0 0 0 0.0 0
2021 15 6 5 33 6.6 0 60.1
2022 1 1 1 2 2.0 0 71.1

CollegeAfter being one of the top wide receivers in Michigan, White committed to Michigan State University and played immediately as a true freshman. He appeared in 13 games and hauled in 35 receptions for 490 yards and four receiving touchdowns. White set a Michigan State freshman record with his 490 yards.

In 2018, White led the team in receiving yards with 555 and was second in receptions (42) and and all-purpose yards (600) despite missing four games due to injury. He finished his sophomore campaign with two receiving touchdowns and a 22-yard rushing touchdown.

As a junior, White played in all 13 games and started 12 of them. He finished the season with a team-leading 66 receptions and 922 yards while adding a career-high six receiving touchdowns. Following the season, White was named as an honorable mention All-Big Ten by the league’s coaches and media. The Spartans honored him with the most improved offensive player award after the season.

In total at Michigan State, White played in 35 games and recorded 27 starts at wide receiver. He finished his Spartan career with 143 receptions for 1,967 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns.

Year GP GS Receptions Yards AVG TDs
2017 13 6 35 490 14.0 4
2018 9 9 42 555 13.2 2
2019 13 12 66 922 14.0 6

Salary cap and future: White is entering his fourth season in the NFL and on a one-year deal with the Steelers for the 2023 season. He will cost $870,000 against the Steelers’ 2023 cap space if he makes the final roster. The Steelers could release him and not incur any dead money in 2023. White will become an exclusive rights-free agent following this season.

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