Ravens returner Tim White coming to grips with demotion

In three games this season, Tim White returned nine punts for a Ravens-leading average of 8.3 yards, which was almost a full yard better than undrafted rookie Janarion Grant’s average in the team’s first two games. White’s 22.5-yard average on six kick returns was 5.5 yards shorter than Grant’s average on two returns, but White fumbled once compared to Grant’s two fumbles.

Although neither player lost a fumble, both were demoted from the active roster to the practice squad. Grant was moved after the team’s 34-23 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 to make room for White, and White joined him Tuesday in being demoted after the Ravens re-signed returner/cornerback Cyrus Jones (Gilman) the day before.

White declined to gripe.

“I can’t control what position I’m put in,” the second-year receiver said. “I can’t control what the outcome is going to be after the game if it’s not in my hands. The fumble is something that can be fixed, and it’s something that I’m going to work on every week. I’m just trying to get better with that. Outside of that, I thought I performed well.”

White, who missed his entire rookie season because of a torn ligament in his thumb, might be discouraged privately, but special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg tried to cheer him up.

“When situations like that happen, we all needed a little guidance when we were young people, and Tim is no different,” said Rosburg. “He’s a fine young man and a talented guy. I know he’s got a big heart and wants to do well, and I’ve been involved with Tim — as you know — for quite a while. So yeah, we had a conversation, and I’m not going to share the intricacies of that conversation, but I know he’s determined. He’s determined to be a great returner in this league and a great receiver in this league, and he has an abundance of talent. So my job is to help him get there.”

Jones and wide receivers Willie Snead IV and John Brown are the prime candidates to return punts Sunday at the Tennessee Titans. Although the team elected not to promote White from the practice squad Saturday, he said his priorities remain the same.

“My driving factor is to get better as a football player,” he said. “When the time is near and it’s my time to be up, then I’m up whether it’s at receiver or returner. So I’m just here to work. I’m here to get better and be the best football player I can be.”

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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