White's star power shines for Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Roddy White, the Falcons' superstar wide receiver, doesn't have his own reality show.

He hasn't appeared on "Dancing with the Stars."

He hasn't even been mentioned on "Real Housewives of Atlanta."

White's transcendent ascension to two-time Pro Bowl status has gone largely unnoticed after a bumpy start to his career in the NFL, where dedication and work habits were an issue.

Since his emergence during that tumultuous 2007 season, White has quietly gone about snagging balls out of the air, scoring touchdowns and stripping footballs from defenders when necessary.

The reality shows and all of that other celebrity stuff can wait, even though his trademark back flips certainly would be a hit on the dancing circuit.

"I'm just playing my position," White said. "Like [wide-receivers coach] Terry [Robiskie] said, ‘we're just going to fly under the radar, win games, and in December when it's time for us to make that playoff push, we are going to be right there.' "

In a couple of weeks when the Cincinnati Bengals come to town, we'll hear a lot from the artist formerly known as Chad Johnson [now Ochocinco] and Terrell Owens. Both have their own reality shows and are poster boys for the celebrity receiver.

"I don't mind people saying this about this guy or that they are posing ... like they are best receiver in the league," White said. "At the end of the year when the players start choosing [for the Pro Bowl], the players know who the best players in the league are. It doesn't matter what the media says, as long as we keep winning, I'm OK with everything."

White and the Falcons are off to a great start. The team is 3-1, and he's leading the NFC with 32 receptions. His hustle play to knock the ball loose from Nate Clements against San Francisco saved the Falcons from near-certain defeat.

"To me that shows his character," Cleveland coach Eric Mangini said. "And the other place that you see his character is the way that he blocks in the run game. Some receivers, especially as talented as he, the running game is an afterthought. But he's thinking it out. That tells me from a head coaching perspective that he's a team guy."

It wasn't always that way for White, who thought fellow receiver Brian Finneran hated him early in his career. But really Finneran was just trying to help push him to fully utilize his skills.

"In meetings and stuff like that, sometimes guys fall asleep and are not paying attention and it kinds of just irks you," Finneran said. "Little things like that early on in Roddy's career weren't very good. But he got it straightened out."

They can laugh about the good old days now.

"He didn't like me very much," Finneran said. "He thought I was on him because I didn't like him. I was on him because he was wasting some of his talent."

Their lockers are across from each other, and they are the best of buddies these days.

"I started putting football first, and good things happen when you put your job first and do what you're supposed to do," White said.