New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 11: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on during warm ups ahead of the the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • Thursday night was the first look at the 2022 Patriots in game action. The team took on the New York Giants in their preseason opener.

    How did the team feel their debut performance went? Here’s what Bill Belichick and some key players had to say after the game about what happened on the field, as well as the retirement of James White.

  • Head coach Bill Belichick

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 11: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 11: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Opening statement: “Well, that was a good competitive night for us. We thought we got a lot of good work in in all three phases of the game. Obviously got to look at a lot of people that haven’t played a lot for us, and so whatever their individual situation was, that was really the common theme with all those players. Good to be out there, good to be playing and going through that process. There’s a lot of things we’ll learn from tonight and work on this week and try and improve next week in the next game opportunity we have. I thought the players responded well to the competition, and it was a pretty evenly matched game, a lot of good situations, and a lot we can learn from, so that’s what we’ll do.”

    On Bailey Zappe: “I thought he was calm all night. Again, we’re all going to learn from things. He’ll learn from things. He made some good plays. There’s some other things that – it’s part of the learning process.”

    On James White’s retirement: “I talked to James, and I conveyed his decision to the team. That was a few days ago. And then James released a statement today. I’m sure he’ll have more to say about that. I’ll leave that to him. Look, he was a tremendous player for us, tremendous person. 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. But respect his decision and I’ll leave any comments about his decision to him.”

    On the special team performance: “Yeah, it’s always good to see those guys get some opportunities. I think both teams kind of wanted to kick and cover — the plus 50 is the plus 50 because there wasn’t as much situational kicking, so it gave everybody a good chance to rush the punts, return the punts, cover the kickoffs, return the kickoffs and all that. Just part of the evaluation. Again, I think there were some good things, some things I’m sure we could do better. Again, there wasn’t a lot of — like in the area of scheming. We were just running our basic things, they’re running their basic things and evaluating the players and how they did. Myles had a couple nice runs in there, so that was good to see.”

    On having both Matt Patricia and Joe Judge call plays in the game: “We did a lot of things in this game that are going to be beneficial in the long run, whether it was on the coaching staff, playing time, players that played and so forth. That’s all part of the process.”

    What were the benefits of that? “I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to do that.”

    Will one of them be the play-caller once the season arrives? “Don’t worry about that. We’ll work it out.”

    On Tyquan Thornton’s touchdown: “in a scramble it looked like he just came back out of the route when Brian scrambled to his right and Tyquan came back out, and that was a good red area scramble play. It’s fairly common. Those happen a lot. But they did a nice job executing it.”

    On Yodny Cajuste: “This is the best camp he’s had. He’s been very competitive and worked hard in the off season and is in good condition, so we’ll see how things turn out here, but it’s good to have him back out there, and hopefully what he had tonight isn’t serious.”

    On the offensive communication: “I didn’t think the communication was a problem. We had 12 men on defense on one play, but otherwise the play clock was pretty – we had plenty of time for the most part. We had a couple injuries and a couple substitution issues, but overall, those are more – it wasn’t the operation, it was a guy being heard or a substitute because that caused some other substitution things, so we can clean that up a little bit, but I thought we were on the ball quickly, had plenty of time to operate. We had to audible a few times and were able to do that. There’s plenty of room for improvement. I’m not saying we’re there yet, but getting there.”

  • QB Brian Hoyer

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 11: Brian Hoyer #5 of the New England Patriots makes a pass during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 11: Brian Hoyer #5 of the New England Patriots makes a pass during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Opening statement: I want to start off first and just congratulate James White on an outstanding career. We’re going miss him. For me, having known James all the way back to 2017, I can honestly say the most dependable teammate I’ve ever had. You never questioned James’ work ethic, his leadership, even though he was a little quiet. We all loved him, and I want to wish him well in the next chapter and just say how much I respect him and how fortunate I feel to have played with him. He’s truly a special player.

    On the different play-callers: “I mean, I just listened to my helmet and called the play that’s said to me, so whether it’s Matt or Joe or whoever it might be, I’m not concerned about – I’m worried about what defense they’re running, how we’re going to execute the play.”

    On the vertical passing game: “Something we work on constantly is, especially for those young guys, just teaching them how to get vertically into the defense, and when they do it you have to reward them and throw them the ball. I know I underthrew the one to Tyquan [Thornton] a little bit, but came right back and hit K-Dub [Kristian Wilkerson], and obviously we continued to do it over the night. Trey [Nixon] obviously had some great catches, some back shoulders. Zappe threw some good balls. Look, in the preseason it usually ends up being man, and you want to give those guys opportunities to see if they can make those plays.”

    On Cole Strange: “Yeah, I mean, I came out clean, so that’s all I know. They did a great job protecting me and kind of hard for me to see how he’s doing, but all I know is I didn’t get hit very much, so that’s always a good sign.”

    On Bailey Zappe: “Showed a lot of grit. That’s not easy to go in in your first NFL experience, especially with what they were throwing at us defensively, a lot of blitz zero, a lot of tight man coverage, some overload blitzes, so some stuff that we haven’t seen, and he hung in there, made some great throws.”

  • QB Bailey Zappe

    Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) signals during the second half of a preseason game against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) signals during the second half of a preseason game against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    On his first NFL game: “I want to say something real fast before I answer that question. I want to congratulate James White on an amazing career and his retirement. I’ve only been here for four or five months and only known him for that long, 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. Back to your question, my coaches, my teammates helped me a lot throughout — we all helped each other out throughout this last week of practice trying to get us rookies used to the speed of the game, get ready for the preseason game. We had a bunch of good things happen this evening and a bunch of bad things or mistakes that we made, and we’re going to correct those tomorrow and this next week.””

    On having two different play-callers: “Yeah, I mean, to be quite honest with you, it really doesn’t matter to me. I’m more focused on the play that’s coming in, focused on communicating to my teammates what the play is, and then going forward looking at what the defense is giving us, and that’s my main focus.”

    On the Lil’Jordan Humphrey touchdown: “Yeah, we prepared all week for multiple pressures that the Giants were going to give us, and that was one of the occasions that we practiced for. It came to fruition. We were able to score a touchdown, and he made a great play, and the O-line blocked really well and was able to let me get the ball off, and it was an overall good play.”

    On his confidence throughout the game: “Yeah, kind of just as the game went on, like you said, you just get more and more comfortable. The more times I come to the sideline, talk to my coaches, talk to my teammates about what they saw, what they’re seeing, and just going back on a drive and just having that next-play mentality, and that’s kind of what my coaches, my teammates, we all try to communicate to everybody is have that next-play mentality and moving on from what happened prior and moving on to the next one and trying to do our best, do our job.”

  • G Cole Strange

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 11: Cole Strange #69 of the New England Patriots looks on during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 11: Cole Strange #69 of the New England Patriots looks on during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    On his positive takeaways from the game: “We competed well. I think we played tough and watching film and being able to watch everything that we did wrong then being able to assess that.”

    On where he thinks he has grown the most over the past few weeks: “I guess in every way possible. In college, my coaches had pointed out to me there were times when I hesitated off of the ball, but I think that was because I was thinking too much. Every now and then you could see me doing that and that’s something I have worked on, and my technique has gotten better just because we have been hammering the fundamentals so I feel I have improved on that too.”

    On his performance tonight: “Well for the two jobs that I was in, I think fairly well but it’s of one of those things where you have to watch the film and see how you did. Sometimes it feels a certain way and then it isn’t necessarily that way when you watch it.”

  • LB Josh Uche

    Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Josh Uche (55) tackles New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) during the first half in a prison game at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Josh Uche (55) tackles New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) during the first half in a prison game at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    On how it felt to be out there today: “Just being able to build with my teammates out there and get the first preseason game going while working on our fundamentals and just continue to go and get better.”

    On the difference between team development in the NFL compared to college level: “Every day is sped up. You have to gel more, get into your routine faster and it’s not like college where everything is gradual. Now you are either on the boat or you are not, so you just have to adapt.”

    On how it felt seeing teammates get into the back field: “It was definitely great to see and is something that we work on every day. To see everyone come together and do their thing was a beautiful thing and it feels great.”

  • DB Myles Bryant

    When was his last punt return? “2015? My senior year of high school. My last game of high school.”

    On his confidence returning punts: “Growing up I was a running back. In Pop Warner, that’s what I did, all the way growing up. I feel like it just sticks with you, just having the ball, it’s kind of a second nature.”

    On his conversation with coaches regarding the punt return: “It was just on them. They thought they saw a quickness doing other things and I think they thought it would translate to that, so, I’m just trying to have them make the right decisions.”

    Did he work on punt returning this offseason? “I did a little bit of it during OTA’s, just catching it and learning. We have a great coach – a guy named Troy Brown, you guys might have heard of him. He’s taught me everything I know about it so far and I’m looking forward to learning a lot more. Of course he showed us clips [of him]. He puts his own highlight reel on. Rightfully so.

  • DB Terrance Mitchell

    Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Terrance Mitchell (39) tackles New York Giants wide receiver Collin Johnson (15) during the first half in a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Terrance Mitchell (39) tackles New York Giants wide receiver Collin Johnson (15) during the first half in a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    On his first game as a Patriot: “It feels good. A lot of work to still be done. Got to iron out some wrinkles.”

    On what wrinkles need to be ironed out: “We’ve got to tighten up. Get a little stickier in coverage.”

    On what he saw on the play when he punched the ball out: “I try to play through the whistle. Anytime a player has the ball it’s a chance to get it.”

    On his biggest takeaways from this preseason game: “We have a lot of work to do. We’ve got to keep working and get better each day. Keep stacking.”

    On how a game like this helps prepare for the regular season: “It allows us to shake the rust, get our timing together and getting that feel back”.

  • DB Jack Jones

    On his first preseason game: “It was good. It wasn’t too much for me. Got out there and got the jitters out on the first couple of plays. Then the rest was just football for me.”

    On what worked out there for him: “The game plan. I was following the game plan and doing my assignments. That was what helped me execute. Going out there and following the game plan.”

    On the veterans that helped him prepare for the game: “To be honest all of them. Starting with Coach Mike [Pellegrino], all the way down to Marcus Jones. As a collective group, the rookies help each other to make sure we know the plays and understand our assignments.”

    On his biggest takeaway from the game: “It’s just the start. We have to keep stacking days on top of days and getting better.”

  • WR Tre Nixon

    Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Tre Nixon (82) returns a kick against the New York Giants during the first half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Tre Nixon (82) returns a kick against the New York Giants during the first half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    On tonight and the big plays he made in the second half: “It was a good day to just get my feet wet, be out there with the team. That was my first game experience in a long time, honestly first full game since UCF. Have a lot of work to do, had a couple of drops. Two big plays helped us with a scoring drive. Just need to keep improving. Need to limit the drops, be better on blocking, help out on special teams until I can get where I really want to be to help this team win.”

    On the first real game action against another team after 11 days of training camp: “Great feeling, great feeling. Going against the same guys for two weeks straight, they kind of know your tendencies, know what you like to do. But going against someone that is not a familiar face is really good because you actually get to try some stuff, what works, what does not work, stuff like that.”

    On what worked for him tonight: “I believe just playing at a high pace, attacking, being aggressive. Like I said, the drops didn’t help obviously – one of them was on third-down, so did not help us stay on the field. I feel like this is what training camp is, what a preseason game is. Trial and error, just getting better every day and continuing to improve.”

    On his first in-game impression of Bailey Zappe: “I feel like he did really good. Coming in as a rookie – it’s not easy being a quarterback, especially in the NFL being a rookie. Being able to come down on that last drive, a scoring drive that could have potentially won us the game. Now it is just all about using it as momentum, keep improving and take it day by day.”

  • WR Tyquan Thornton

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 11: Tyquan Thornton #11 of the New England Patriots celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 11: Tyquan Thornton #11 of the New England Patriots celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    On scoring his first touchdown in the NFL: “Before we get started, I just want to give James White his flowers, Just being in the meeting rooms with him, he’s a great man and you know, always kept a smile on his face. 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. As far as the touchdown, it was just basic fundamentals you know, it was something that we worked on throughout the week, putting emphasis on the red zone and it just goes to show that hard work definitely pays off.”

    On switching jersey numbers from 51 to 11: “I feel a little bit better wearing 11, I feel like it fits me more.”

    On wearing 11 after Drew Bledsoe and Julien Edelman: “Julien, he was a great receiver. I’m kind of proud to wear that number after him.”

    On playing in his first NFL game: “It was a great experience jus to be out there with my teammates. We grinded it out during training camp, putting in that blood, sweat, and tears just to see us go out there and compete. We’re going to come back tomorrow and put another day together.”

  • LB Mack Wilson

    On what it felt like to land a big hit on Daniel Jones early in the game: “Yeah most definitely, it’s always a good feeling when you get to the opposing team’s quarterback. Try to frustrate him, get a few licks on him early, things like that. Obviously it was a great feeling.”

    On how an experience like this helps him learn a new system on a new team: “It was great, just to go out and put it on the field in a game perspective. Obviously practice is totally different. Just being able to learn a new system and then going out there and execute it at a game level.”

    On if he is learning more each and every day: “Yeah definitely. I feel like I am a great learner and I learn pretty fast. I am one of those guys who learn easier or better by repping it on a practice field. I feel like I have been doing a great job of it. Obviously just have got to continue to study, do not get complacent, and just continue to try to be sharp and execute at a high level.”

  • RB Damien Harris

    On James White’s retirement: “James is obviously just a special guy. Special teammate, special leader. I feel very fortunate to have spent the time – even though it was a short amount of time – being able to learn from him and understand how to truly be a professional football player and how to play in this league. As skilled as he was, I think teaching me how to be a pro, and the ins and outs, and what makes people successful in this league – are the things that I’ll take from James the most. We have our memories, and James has a lifetime of memories in this organization and playing this game. So, I just feel very fortunate to have spent a little bit of time with him and had the opportunity to learn from him and grow as a player and develop in this league.”

    On special memories with James White: “There’s too many to count, honestly. Every day with him, every time you saw him, he always had a smile on his face. He was always radiating positivity. He was always cool, calm and collected. Having a guy like that in your organization, especially in your running back room, it paid a lot of dividends and helped me get to the position I’m in. So, like I said, I’m very thankful to have spent some time sharing the same room with James White.”

    On how James White can be replaced: “You can’t. James is a once in a lifetime player, once in a lifetime teammate. James isn’t somebody that you can replace. But, unfortunately, the show goes on. So, we’re just going to have to keep doing what we do and move forward. We wish James was still here, but we wish him the best in the next chapter of his life.”

    On what James taught Damien as a young player: “Everything. Getting to learn from a guy like James White – you don’t always get that opportunity at this level, so just to have somebody like that that I could look at as a mentor, and somebody to guide me through my early process of being a player in the National Football League. He taught me a lot of things on the field, obviously. But he taught me how to be a pro, and how to be a man in this business and this industry. I learned a ton of things from James, so, definitely sad to see him go. But wishing him nothing but the best in his next chapter.”

  • S Devin McCourty

     

    On James White: “I think the biggest thing for me with James is – you don’t say this too often about people – 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. To come in here and not play much – really not at all – as a rookie, and worked his butt off. I know Josh McDaniels used to always say, ‘If I had 11 James White’s it’d be perfect, because I could tell him something in training camp and it might not show up for 12 weeks, but when it shows up in the game, he’s going to be on it.’ Always a bittersweet feeling, to have a guy like that not in the locker room. We know the impact it has. We knew what it was like last year when he went through surgery and not having him around all the time, the impact on the team. I think now you’re happy for him, especially as an older guy, knowing what we put our bodies through and how hard that decision is, to come to that. So, you’re happy, but a little sad that you won’t have him in the locker room constantly. Having a guy, for me, that I’ve sat in captains’ meetings on Fridays with over the last couple of years. Just being able to talk football, talk about leadership, talk about how we win football games around here. It’s definitely a different kind of feeling as you get older. Those guys you wind up with now for eight or 10 seasons – as you start to lose some of those guys, it kind of puts it in perspective, this game. But, obviously I wish James the best going forward. Just always thinking about some of the big games he had and coming up in clutch moments, I think really defines his character. 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 some day I’m sure we would love to see him in the locker room.

    On watching James recover from injury: “Not surprising, just knowing his character, knowing what he’s about. We knew he’d come in here and work his butt off and try to get back. Even talking to him coming back from injury – especially a tough injury like that, the frustration: the good days, the bad days. I’m just happy for him finding some peace. I’m sure being home with your kids always brings some joy and purpose, so, I think, for all of us, especially these younger guys in the locker room, to come in here this offseason and training camp and to see him work and to see him run, I think it really allowed them to see what it means to be a true pro in this league. To have the type of career that James White had, I think they can see the work ethic and what it takes from a physical and mental standpoint to even get close to that. A lot of these guys, I don’t think they really know now how blessed they were to have the opportunity to see him work and to see how he conducted himself in meetings and everything. The coaching points he gave them. A lot of experience, and he’s played along a lot of leaders and great players, so I’m sure he’s able to pass knowledge down to.”

    On James White never fumbling: “Yeah I mean it was hard to get the ball off him in practice, like I don’t think he’s ever had a fumble in practice. I’ll say the two things that jump out are not having a fumble and the few times you see him drop a pass in practice or a game everyone would kind of be like ‘what just happened?’ I think that shows his consistency and how he approaches the day. I think that’s what it’s about. I think for anybody that decides to come play – Like you mentioned, it’s not going probably the way he expected as a rookie, but I think the biggest thing is and we get to see it all the time, how guys finish a season and how guys come back to that next training camp, get out there in those preseason games and it’s no wonder when guys are making more plays. It’s the work they put in. I think we got to see that from him year after year. It’s different, that next year he comes in, Dion Lewis gets hurt, he kind of jumps on the scene making plays. But to come back the next year and get better and then to get better and then to become one of the most trusted players on the team shows that it wasn’t about a little bit of success for him. It was about playing for the guy next to him each day and knowing and banking on guys to trust you. I think that’s what he’s about. A guy that really cared about the team more than anything.”

    On James White spending his career in New England: “It’s rare. I think I remember a couple years ago just polling through the NFLPA and six or seven percent of second contracts stay the same once they’re signed and to completion. It’s very rare to you know, finish your whole contract, let alone finish a contract and then sign back to play with for that team. It’s obviously a testament to the relationship with the player to the team and the organization, but it’s the daily grind, coming into a team knowing what they’re going to get from you, how you’re going to approach the day. Then it’s the decision of the player that wants to be a part of that, wants to continue to build a legacy that they started in one place. Like I said, it’s rare and usually it’s hard to do in this league when you think about the business side of everything. I’m very fortunate to be here and the guys I’ve gotten a chance to play with and that’s what I’ll always remember the most. Not the Super Bowls, not contracts, it’s the guys. The opportunities we’ve had to be on the sidelines laughing and joking, bus rides, hotels, all of those great memories. You think about James White and I see Kevin Faulk on the Giants sideline – talking to him before the game and what he meant for me and my career, his locker next to mine. I got to see how he approached a day and I got to watch a guy just like James White. Very similar to how Kevin Faulk came in here and have the same kind of career in a way, but approach the day very similar to how Kevin approached it and why he was able to play so long and the different things. To me, staying in one organization, that’s what it’s about. I’ve gotten to see some of those older guys, how they did it and then also get to experience some of the younger guys come in and become the true pros, husbands and fathers that they’ve become. So it’s a special journey for me and just trying to take advance and enjoy each moment of it.”

  • Matthew Slater

    Opening statement: “Well, I think you guys know why I’m here. It’s not because of the game tonight. Just want to start off by saying a few things about James [White]. I’ll say this, I’ve had the good fortune of being around him for a long time. You guys know that. I think one of the great things about this place is the fact that we’ve had so many great individuals, in particular players, that have left tremendous legacies here. It’s my personal belief that all of us leave legacies in the things that we do. Our fingerprints are left on relationships, they’re left on our professional careers, they’re left on the lives of our families, the people in the communities. We all leave legacies one way or another. Some of us leave good ones, some of us leave not so good and some of us leave great legacies and when I think about James White, I think he left a tremendous, tremendous legacy here, not just for what he did on the field. When I think about all the things that we hope to embody here, all the things that I hope to embody as a dad, as a husband, as a teammate, as a friend, James embodies all of that. So it’s tough to say goodbye to someone like that. We’re not saying goodbye, but as he transitions into the next phase of his life I certainly want to one of the first people to celebrate the legacy James White left here. He’s a true Patriot, but he’s a better human being and we’re all better for having been around him.

    On how James White grew into the leader and player he was: “Yeah I think two things. I think consistency over time. James was so consistent in everything that he did. We talk about it as a football player but just the person he was consistent time after time day after day he was the same person. And integrity. I think the guys in that locker room they know good people when they see it and James is a man of his word. he treated people the right way. He never cut corners in any of the things he did. He was a man of integrity. I think when you do that, and you model that behavior consistently over time you gain the respect of your peers. I can’t think of a guy who’s come through that locker room who’s been more respected in the time that I’ve been here because of those characteristics.

    On James White never dropping passes: “I mean we used to laugh about it in the offensive meetings because coaches in the past would be like ‘if we could just do it like James does it.’ It was always, ‘if we could just do it like James does it.’ ‘Receivers, if you could catch the ball, run routes like James. Offensive lineman, ‘if you could show the consistency that James shows.’ He was an example for all of us. When he did make the occasional mistake, which didn’t happen often, it was like ‘oh wait what’s going on?’ I can think of very few guys who I’ve played with that were like that over the course of my career. Just a true model. A true example for us all to follow. I can’t say enough about James.

    On when the team first realized the level of player James was: “Funny enough, for me it was actually the blowout loss to Kansas City in 2014. It was one of the few games he was active for that year. I think he showed a great deal of poise and promise in a very bad situation. I think from there I kind of watched him and over the course of that year he had a great person to learn from in Shane Vereen. He just was like a sponge. Every detail that was taught he was able to retain and go out and apply on the field and that’s rare to see from young players. So although he didn’t really get on the field much early on I think he showed flashes of what he could be and then obviously we all saw the player that he became. But really no surprise when you think back to it because of the person he is and continues to be.”

    On his favorite James White story or memory: “Aside from Super Bowl heroics? I think about the belly laughs that him and I shared over the years. James is – he loves to laugh, he loves to smile and something would happen in the meeting room or in the facility and I would come back to his locker and be like ‘James man whatever whatever happened,’ and we would just sit there and laugh. That was something I always appreciated. I knew if I needed to laugh I could go find James and we could laugh about something. Just having a presence like that in a place that is stressful at times and is tough and challenging at times was a great outlet for me personally. So on a personal level I really appreciate that.”