Never playing football again crossed Nyeem Wartman-White’s mind.
But, when it did, the Penn State linebacker — who suffered his second serious knee injury last season — said he’d always just laugh the thought off.
“I can’t see myself just giving up,” Wartman-White said at Thursday’s Penn State Pro Day. “I love football, and I have too much pride to see myself 20 years from now and think, ‘What if I tried?’ It’s better to try than not to.”
Wartman-White, who suffered season-ending knee injuries in 2015 and 2016, didn’t do much at Pro Day. He didn’t run the 40-yard dash, take part in any cone drills or test out the high jump.
But the middle linebacker was more than happy with what he was able to do — on-field position drills and the bench press.
Wartman-White is five months along in his rehabilitation, trying to return after falling to the turf Sept. 17 against Temple. He wasn’t even sure he’d be physically capable of participating in the linebacker drills until Wednesday night.
“When I woke up (Wednesday), I wasn’t participating,” Wartman-White said. “I was just going to bench.”
But he was given the go-ahead by trainers and doctors to take part, going only 50 percent.
“I pushed it a little more,” he said with a smile. “It went better than I expected.”
Ultimately, Wartman-White is trying to parlay his Pro Day into an NFL opportunity, likely as a free agent.
He’s confident he can be prepared by July for NFL camps — and hoping a team will take a chance on him.
“For me not to chase my dreams,” Wartman-White said, “that’d be ridiculous to me.”