Patriots

Belichick, Patriots players reflect on ‘ultimate team player’ James White

Bill Belichick and several Patriots players reflect on James White's career

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick celebrates with James White after the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. The Patriots won 34-28 in overtime. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Several Patriots players opened their postgame press appearances Thursday night by reflecting on the impact James White had on the organization.

The three-time Super Bowl champion announced his retirement on Thursday.

Defensive back Devin McCourty said what he’ll remember most about playing with the Patriots are the bus rides, the belly laughs, and the camaraderie he shared with teammates like White.

“I think the biggest thing for me with James is, you don’t say this too often about people,” McCourty said. “He’s one of those guys that one day if my daughter said ‘I’m going to bring home a guy like James White,’ I’d be excited.”

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Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he talked to White a few days ago and relayed his decision to the team.

“He was a tremendous player for us, tremendous person,” Belichick said. “There’s not enough complimentary things to say about James or we’d be here all night and still have time left over. Ultimate team player, huge in big games, as professional as they come, and on and on and on.”

White even made an impression on rookies Bailey Zappe and Tyquan Thornton during their short time as teammates.

“I’ve only been here for four or five months and only known him for that long,” Zappe said. “And just to be able to be in the facility with him, be able to see how he carried himself and kind of learned many things from him and how he prepared. It’s really something I’m going to try to carry on.”

White’s attitude and energy stood out to Thornton.

“Just being in the meeting rooms with him, he’s a great man and you know, always kept a smile on his face,” Thornton said. “Sad to say that I didn’t get a chance to compete with him on the football field but I just learned so much from him in the meeting rooms. He’s a great dude, always had a smile on his face and brought good energy to the team.”

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White’s playing days may be over, but McCourty said he’d like to see White return to the Patriots in another capacity someday.

“Just always thinking about some of the big games he had and coming up in clutch moments, I think really defines his character,” McCourty said. “You won’t always hear from him, but when you do, you know it’s important, and you know it’s going to be something big. It was obviously an honor to play with him and hopefully we see him around here. If he wants to come coach someday, I’m sure we would love to see him in the locker room.”

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