NFL Nation: Ali White
|Howard Smith/US Presswire|
|Roddy White has gone from obscurity to being the Atlanta's No. 1 WR.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
There was a time when a large percentage of McDonald's employees in greater Atlanta would see Roddy White and automatically push a button.
"I had them trained," White said with a laugh. "The No. 2 combo, always the No. 2 combo -- Quarter-Pounder with cheese, large fries and a Hi-C. Every day. Sometimes, two or three times a day. Sometimes, at 3 or 4 in the morning."
This is the story of how White went from the No. 2 combo to being the No. 1 wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons and, perhaps, one of the best in the NFL. It's about slimming down and growing up. More than anything, it's a story about learning to take care of others and, in the process, taking care of yourself.
If the people at McDonald's could see White now -- and they haven't in quite some time -- they wouldn't recognize him. These days, White's home early most evenings. He's eating (and making) dinners that are heavy on fruits and vegetables. If he goes out, it's to watch the kids -- his kids, essentially -- play high school football.
Tyrone Moore, 15, is White's brother. Ali White, 17, is his cousin. They play football at and attend Mill Creek High School, which is just a few miles away from the Falcons' practice facility in Flowery Branch. They live with White, 27, who has taken on the role of parent for both boys.
It happened almost overnight. It happened before the 2007 school year began and it happened at just about the same time White made a bunch of other decisions that probably saved his career. It's a long and complicated story, but, when you look at the end result, it's no coincidence that all these good things happened at the same time.