JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Roddy White is thinking about camp.
But not the camp he’s usually preparing for this time of year. Rather, it’s spring football at Johns Creek (Ga.) High School where the former Atlanta Falcons receiver is embarking on his first season as a wide receivers coach.
“It’s a little bit different now,” White said. “Instead of getting ready to go through an OTA practice for three and a half, four hours, I’m out here looking at huddles, looking at plays and trying to find out ways for these guys to get better out here.”
White joined the Johns Creek Gladiators in April under head coach Matt Helmerich. White, who lived in the area, reached out to Helmerich and expressed his desire to get into coaching.
“I wanted to bring in somebody that preaches fundamentals,” Helmerich said. “Somebody who cares about the kids, somebody who’s going to be reliable.”
There he was, back on a football field in the Georgia heat on an unseasonably warm spring day. But now the four-time Pro Bowler is teaching the next generation of receivers what he knows.
White officially retired from the NFL in April after 10 seasons with the Falcons. His final game was in 2015. He’s the Falcons all-time leading receiver with 10,863 yards. He had 63 touchdown receptions in his career.
Coaching doesn’t just come naturally. White has already hit a few bumps in the road.
“The toughest thing for me has been the signals,” he said. “You know, coming in, I’ve known a lot of signals, but none of them relate out here. In the NFL, you just go to the huddle, get the play call, and you walk out. But there’s no play call in here. There’s no getting the plays then walking out of the huddle. Everybody just lines up and looks to the sideline.”
White, 35, will admit he misses suiting up on Sundays. But what’s done is done.
“There’s not going to be a comeback for me. I’m not training to get ready for another NFL season,” White said, laughing at the thought. “I knew once I said I was going to retire from this game, that was going to be it for me. I love working with kids. I’ve always been that way. I’m just trying to get these guys as ready to play as possible.”
The Falcons have their Brotherhood, and White is helping the Gladiators form a bond of their own. It’s only just begun to grow.