Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is still in possession of his phone. That means he remains just a couple of taps and 140 characters away from a national controversy.
“My tweeting strategy … I do not have one,” White said. “OK, I just say what’s on my mind.”
Normally, that’s fine.
White, who has more than 167,000 followers on twitter.com, usually starts the day by tweeting, “Hello World” or something equally innocent.
But he has found himself being scrutinized after tweeting about his various thoughts on the city of New Orleans, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the Trayvon Martin trial. He usually issues an apology after he simmers down. And then returns to tweeting.
“How I feel some times, it gets me in trouble, but it’s just my personality,” White said. “Sometimes, I speak too much of my mind and it gets me in trouble. Other than that, tweeting is tweeting.”
His latest episode stemmed from his support for embattled Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
“It was nothing,” White insisted. “I was just talking about Manziel being a child. He’s a college kid. You guys (the media) need to get off of him. Let him go out there and play football and win Texas A&M a national championship.”
One of White’s favorite topics is his beloved Boston Celtics. He’s been distraught about the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
“I’m very disappointed in (Boston general manager) Danny Ainge right now, I must say,” White said. “He traded away two of my guys. But at some point, you’ve got to start over. Hopefully, we’ll get that started.
“First, we’ll start with a new coach and hopefully, him and (point guard Rajon) Rondo can get along and we can get this ball rolling again.”
White’s tweets, when they’re not getting him into trouble, help him pass the down time at training camp.
White, 31, hasn’t missed a practice as he hopes to continue assault on the Falcons’ record book and post his seventh consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season. Before White’s run started in 2007, the best stretch in team history was Andre Rison’s three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 1992 to 1994.
Since 2008, White is second in the league in yards receiving (6,571), trailing only Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, who has 7,080 yards over that period. White has the third most catches in the league since 2008 with 480. Only Wes Welker (560) and Brandon Marshall (490) have more.
“He’s starting to consistently remind us that he’s the senior member of the group,” Falcons assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie said. “Every now and then, he’ll have a senior moment. As you get old, you start wandering a little bit.”
White doesn’t want to leave anything to chance.
“I think he’s in good shape,” Robiskie said. “He always comes in and he’s ready to roll. I think he’s ready to play. If we kicked it off tomorrow, he’d be ready to go.”
A first-round pick in 2005 out of Alabama-Birmingham, White has not missed a game in eight seasons. The former high school wrestler has an iron-man streak of 128 consecutive games.
White, a four-time Pro Bowler, caught 92 passes for 1,351 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He’s only the fifth NFL player to record three consecutive seasons with 90-plus catches and 1,200-plus yards.
White, who also now has the longest active tenure with the team, is the Falcons all-time leader with 622 catches and 8,725 yards.
While he is ready for the season, it appears that he’s been advised about his twitter habits.
“It’s getting closer to the regular season, so I’ll only be speaking on behalf of the Atlanta Falcons,” White said. “Week in and week out, you will only get Falcons questions answered and Falcons comments. Everything will be positive and productive, I can tell you that.”
“Absolutely, it’s football and football only,” White said.
But he thinks he’ll get a pass for the Saints fans that seem to crawl under his skin.
“They can’t bait me because we are going to go down there and handle some business,” White insisted. “They can’t bait me. That’s all I’m going to say.”