When Landry reviews films of Cowboy games. White sits in the back and squirms, convinced that he's in for a dressing down—which of course never comes. Waters says White "used to do that even after he'd gotten the game ball. He'd sit next to Larry Cole and say, 'Bubba, he's going to get me today. I really screwed up this time.' And then Landry would say something like, 'Randy, if you'd stepped over here, the flex probably would've worked a little better.' Then he'd go on and really chew out the next guy. And Randy would sit there next to Cole shaking his head and saying, 'Bubba, they're really on my butt now.' "
Perhaps, in the end, it's this view of himself more than his physical prowess that serves White best. Certainly he seems unlikely ever to be satisfied with himself. He's absolutely incapable of being smug. It's an exercise in frustration to try to get him to remember the good parts of his life. Ask him about his college feats and he tells you about David Vissagio, a fellow defensive lineman who was "oblivious to pain." His dark, fierce eyes light up when he tells you of the time Vissagio crushed his finger with a 100-pound weight and, trailing blood, showed up at a party right on time. "Dave didn't want to miss anything," White says. But of himself, he's virtually dry of anecdote, or anything really positive. "I don't analyze," he says, "I just play."
The other day Tex Schramm, the Cowboys' president, was talking about White's holdout and how unthinkable a season without him was. A Dallas writer had compared White's action, in light of his well-established dedication to duty, with " John Wayne going gay." Schramm said it really didn't matter that much after all because he didn't know anybody who didn't have the very best thoughts about White. He said he wished he could have him "bottled."
Which, of course, should give White something to worry about next winter after he's been named All-Pro for the seventh straight time.