Jets QB Mike White psyched for first NFL start: ‘That’s pretty freaking cool’

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Good things come to those who wait, and boy has Mike White waited.

It took White four years to attempt his first professional pass, a milestone he checked off last Sunday when he relieved an injured Zach Wilson in the Jets’ loss to the Patriots. His NFL debut came under unfortunate circumstances, but White finally threw a meaningful pass for the first time since college and after six separate stints on New York’s practice squad since 2019.

Now he’s on the verge of checking another NFL first off his list.

White will be under center when the Jets take on the Bengals this weekend. The 26-year-old has the unenviable task of going up against a Cincinnati defense that is fresh off shutting down MVP candidate Lamar Jackson, but it is White’s show as Gang Green’s starting quarterback for at least one week.

“I’m starting an NFL game,” White said Thursday. “So that’s pretty freaking cool.”

White looked like a fish out of water at times in his professional debut, finishing 20-32 for 202 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against New England. Being thrust into the duty in the middle of a game — especially when you have never done it during the regular season — is no easy task, though. White will now have a full four quarters and a week’s worth of preparation as the starter to show the kind of passer he really is.

White’s first week preparing as a starting quarterback has been a whirlwind. He said his phone has been blowing up since Robert Saleh announced Tuesday that he would be starting and he even got the chance to catch up with New York Mets infielder Luis Guillorme, as the two grew up in South Florida and played baseball together during their youth.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs,” White said. “But I think, personally, I’m proud of how I handled it and persevered and kept continuing to work my tail off and get better and put myself into this situation.”

The fanfare is new for White, but football is still football. White and the Jets will look to hand the Bengals their third loss of the season, and he has been all-in on doing whatever it takes to make that happen.

“I’ve gone into this week and attacked this week and trying not to make it more than it is,” White said. “We’re going out there on Sunday and I’m going to try and help this football team win and do my job.”

List

5 things to know about Jets QB Mike White before his first NFL start