New England Patriots

"The goal was to surprise both my mom and my dad," White said. However, after his father passed away in a car accident last fall, he told his mom early. "Once everything happened, we told her that I was taking classes and she kind of knew what was going on," he added. "She was definitely excited about it."

As for his time in free agency, White described it as "really strange." Asked if he ever thought there was a chance he'd end up leaving New England, he said the Patriots "were in the mix the while time." When it came to other teams, he explained "day to day, everything kind of changed a little bit. I mean, some days a team may have interest, the next day they may not."

Now that he's officially back, White is ready to be a part of the turnaround from last season. "I think everybody's extra excited because obviously we didn't perform our best last year," he explained. "Everybody is excited, chomping at the bit to get back out there and just be better."

The Patriots will look to White, a three-time team captain, to lead the way as the team looks to better itself from last season's 7-9 record. "It's going to be fun," he said. "Guys are going to be excited to kind of get back out there and get back to it."

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

For the first time since his fathers passing two weeks ago, James White returned to the Patriots, taking part in practice Wednesday morning.

Often cited as one of the Patriots most crucial leaders on and off the field, White is a three-time captain and a noted leader of the locker room.

The team acknowledged White’s return on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

Asked about having White back with the team, fellow captain Devin McCourty said, “It was awesome, man. And I think just having him around us, from a selfish standpoint, I think we love. We love having him around and ultimately we want him to do was best for him and his family.”

“With a lot of you guys know when you go through different things, it’s a good feeling sometimes just to be back in a normal setting back with a bunch of people who care about you and being able to lean on that support,” McCourty continued. “So we were excited knowing he was coming back this week and having a back in the locker room, being able to catch up with him and laugh and have some good times with James is great. We look forward to him just being back with us.”

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 27: The New England Patriots stand for a moment of silence for the parents of James White #28 who were involved in a fatal automobile accident at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Stephon Gilmore also shared his thoughts on White’s return. “Great teammate, you know, great guy, hard worker. Happy to have him back,” Gilmore said. “Prayers to his situation. You know, happy to have him back. You know, it’s always good to have one of your brothers back on the football field. It’s a brotherhood and we go out and fight for each other. So happy to have him back.”

It’s still not known if White will be available for the Patriots matchup with the Chiefs on Sunday, although he was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.