New England Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears has big plans for James White.
Fears said Tuesday during assistant coaches’ bi-monthly media availability that White is one of the current Patriots players he could see going into coaching after the running back’s career is over.
“No doubt about it. I could see James White back at Wisconsin as a head coach,” Fears said. “And Rex (Burkhead), yeah. I think those guys — they enjoy what they do. They’re really smart. They’re really good with people. I think they’re good with the press. I could see those guys, if they want to, taking that course. And Rex is really into training — personal training type things — no doubt I could see him, both of those guys being successful at it.”
Fears, who was the Patriots’ wide receivers coach from 1999 to 2001, currently is working alongside a player he used to coach — assistant running backs coach/former Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown.
It sounds like Fears also believes Brown could be a head coach one day.
“It’s funny,” Fears said. “Like, (Mike) Vrabel. We had Vrabel here, and he was playing for us. Then he became an assistant coach. And now he’s a head coach. I can just envision what it will be like for (inside linebackers coach) Jerod (Mayo) and for Troy. I can just see it. It’s a hell of a thing. I just hope I’m around to watch them go at it. Maybe I’m around for practice in training camp so I can give them some (expletive) in practice while they’re trying to coach. That would be so much fun.
“I was fortunate enough to have (Jacksonville Jaguars head coach) Doug Marrone at Syracuse when was a freshman. And to watch him come into the league and to grow into — become a head coach. I still like to tease him with some stories about coming in his freshman year. That’s fun. I can imagine with Jerod and with Troy — that’s going to be something that’s special. They’re special.”
Fears said he could always imagine Brown going into coaching.
More notes from Tuesday:
— The Patriots made a Jordan-for-Jordan swap. They signed offensive tackle Jordan Steckler to their practice squad and released guard Jordan Roos.
— Speaking of the big guys up front, Patriots co-offensive line coach Cole Popovich doesn’t know who will be playing this weekend after left guard Joe Thuney and backup offensive tackle both suffered ankle injuries in Week 7.
“I’m not sure who we’re going to have,” Popovich said. “I’m not sure the extent of the injury yet or anything. That’s more of a question for Bill or the (medical) staff.”
— Patriots special teams coordinator Cam Achord is liking what he’s seeing from kick and punt returner Gunner Olszewski since the wide receiver came off of injured reserve.
“I love it. I love his aggressive mentality that he brings to the game,” Achord said Tuesday. “He plays hard. I think for him, that’s the only way he knows how to play. You know what you’re going to get every time he steps on the field. It’s a credit to him. He’s an aggressive mentality guy, and he’s going to give everything he’s got. So I do appreciate that.”