James White’s value to the Patriots never was more evident than Sunday night when he understandably was inactive in New England’s Week 2 loss to Seattle Seahawks due to the tragic death of his father, Tyrone, in a car accident.
Patriots pass-catching running backs typically feast on Seattle’s Cover-3 defense, but Rex Burkhead managed just four catches for 47 yards in Week 2. Sony Michel also was targeted but didn’t record a reception.
The amount of respect White has garnered on the Patriots and around the NFL also has been obvious since news broke of White’s loss Sunday night with condolences being sent to the running back from far and wide.
Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty was praising his teammate and fellow captain during a video conference call Tuesday afternoon when he shared an amusing anecdote from when the two initially became teammates.
“I remember talking to (offensive coordinator Josh) McDaniels about him and wondering why you never see James get yelled at ever on the offensive side of the ball,” McCourty said. “And I remember he said, ‘James is the type of guy where you tell him something on the first day of training camp and by the time you get to the Super Bowl, that same note you gave him, he remembers it and he’s executed it out on the field.’ And I think that just is a tribute to the consistency he has as a person.”
There’s a lot of yelling at Gillette Stadium. That White never is on the receiving end is certainly telling.
“I think that just is a tribute to the consistency he has as a person, the way he connects with the rest of the running back room and the rest of the offense,” McCourty said. “He’s a guy who’s a captain. He’s a leader here on our football team, and he’s a guy that we look to for leadership, for guidance in whatever we’re all going through. So, I hurt for him, and I know a lot of guys in his locker room feel the same way. And we’re going to try to do whatever we can for him and to be there for him through this loss.”