Former Lions safety William White dies at 56 after battle with ALS

William White, an NFL veteran of 11 seasons who played with the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, has died after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the Lions announced Thursday night.

White, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2016, was 56.

“I loved William,” Lions special assistant to president/CEO Chris Spielman said in a statement. “We shared experiences of joy and sorrow on and off the field. He was and always will be my brother. I am forever grateful for the special moment last year when he was able to be by my side during the Pride of the Lions ceremony at Ford Field. I can’t wait to see him again when he will be free from ALS. May God’s peace rest upon his family.”

We share in the sadness felt today throughout the NFL community following the news of William White’s passing. Drafted by the Lions in the 4th round of the 1988 Draft out of Ohio State, White played 6 seasons in Detroit (1988-1993) & appeared in 95 games (79 starts) for the club.

White, a safety, was drafted in the fourth round of the 1988 NFL Draft out of Ohio State by the Lions. Spielman, a middle linebacker, was taken in the same draft by Detroit after the two played together with the Buckeyes.

By his second season, White had joined Spielman in the Detroit defensive starting lineup.

White played six years in Detroit, starting 79 of 95 games he played with the franchise and producing 450 tackles with 13 interceptions along the way.

For his career, White played in 170 games (132 starts) with 20 interceptions and 721 tackles.

In 1994, White joined the Chiefs for the next three seasons before finishing out his career with a pair of campaigns with the Falcons in 1997 and 1998 in which he started all 32 games.

For his career, White saw the postseason five times, including his last as he played an important part in the Falcons’ rise to an NFC championship prior to falling against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII. White tallied a team-high nine tackles in the Super Bowl, which would stand as the final game of his career.

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