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The Commercial Appeal

Former Memphis QB Brady White returns to spark pro career with Showboats, USFL

By Evan Barnes, Memphis Commercial Appeal,

2023-03-14
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When Brady White wrapped up his career with Memphis football in 2020, he considered Memphis a second home. The California native went from being questioned by fans to beloved as a Tigers legend.

Three years later, White’s back but with a new team. With the Memphis Showboats rebranded from the Tampa Bay Bandits for the USFL’s second season, White has a chance to write another chapter in a city he’s grown to love the last five years.

“It’s special and a place near and dear to me,” White said. “It’s two different journeys with college and a professional team but having the setting and the city be the same, being able to represent for the city of Memphis…and be the home team that’s there, it means a lot.”

White is one of three quarterbacks on the roster as training camp starts Monday. The season opener is April 15 (4:30 p.m., FOX) at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium with the Showboats hosting the Philadelphia Stars.

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It’s similar to what White faced arriving to Memphis in 2018 from Arizona State. He quickly joined a quarterback battle and had to win over a fan base after an up-and-down first season.

He left the Tigers as the program’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. So he understands the challenges and believes it’ll be easier once fans get to know the players.

“I think it’s better when people can meet (us) like we’re people, not just football players,” White said. “You get to interact with us, share stories and I think that just puts more behind the name and the face that you’re going to sit down and watch week to week.”

White spent 2022 as a graduate assistant with the Tigers. He worked with the receivers and got to saw the offense from a different position than his three years at quarterback.

His duties ended after the season and White said he’s not sure if he’ll return for 2023 since he’s focused on his playing career. But he was glad both coach Ryan Silverfield and offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey gave him a chance to explore the coaching aspect of football.

“There’s obviously a lot of similairities in coaching and playing quarterback just because of the responsibility and different things that are required,” White said. “I learned so much and I’m so appreciative of the experience and knowledge that I gained from a bunch of different people.”

How it helps translate to the Showboats remains to be seen. White only played sparingly last season with Tampa Bay and despite being a recognizable face, he’ll have to earn his reps.

But the chance to play in Memphis again has invigorated him. There’s a chance to add a new layer to his love for the city, get closer to fans who remember him for his exploits and find a spark for his playing career.

“Playing professional football isn’t just getting back on the bike. It’s something you’re doing year-round to sharpen your tolls and stay ready,” White said. “You can’t simulate a live game so it’ll be good to get back together as a team and start that process.”

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