FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Mike White is still hearing the chants.
Every time he walks into the Jets locker room, his teammates are chanting "Mike White" the way the MetLife Stadium crowd did two Sundays ago when he led his team over the Bengals.
"It’s cool," White said, "but it’s got to stop at some point."
He hopes chants fill MetLife again Sunday when the Jets play host to the Bills. White will start for the third straight game as he gets another chance for his legend to grow.
"I hope there are Mike White chants because that means the offense is doing something good," White said. "I hope to hear some type of cheering from the fans."
White has stepped in for Zach Wilson, who is working his way back from a knee injury, and has a real opportunity to keep the starting job. The Jets are 2-6, but 1-1 with White as a starter.
The former fifth-round pick of the Cowboys has enjoyed an unexpected rise from practice squad player to Jets starting quarterback, who threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns in his historic first NFL start. White has become a celebrity.
He said people who see him out are asking him how he’s feeling after he injured his forearm in his last game. White said he took his child to the doctor, and the doctor made a remark because he knew he who is. He’s also getting all the extra attention from his teammates.
"It’s kind of crazy," White said. "It’s cool. You got to soak it in when you can and enjoy it when you can. It does kind of catch you off guard because we’re in the middle of the season trying to win games.
"Heading into it, I’m like, ‘I’m going to be Zach’s backup. I’m going to help him as much as I can and stay ready in my process but also help him.’ And then the script gets flipped a little bit: ‘You got to play until Zach gets healthy.’ In the midst of the season to have to change like that is definitely crazy. But it’s part of the job. You got to figure it out."
White may not relinquish the job when Wilson is healthy. But that’s not his focus. White is locked in to getting himself ready to the play the Bills, owners of the No. 1 defense in the NFL.
"I’ve tried to make this not any bigger than it needs to be," White said. "I try to stick true to that with everything.
"My mindset right now is going out to figure out a way to beat the Buffalo Bills. Once we hit Monday and we restart the next week then we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, week-by- week to the end of the year. The moment you start letting your mind wander and go too far is when you start losing track of what’s right in front of you and that’s when bad things can start to happen."