Want a snapshot of how respected James White is within the New England Patriots’ locker room? Just listen to what fellow running back Damien Harris had to say about him Thursday.
Harris, who’s in the midst of a breakout season in the Patriots’ backfield, was asked what he’s been able to learn from White since arriving in New England last spring.
White, after all, followed a similar path at the start of his Patriots tenure, hardly playing as a rookie in 2014 before greatly expanding his role as an NFL sophomore.
Harris was effusive in his praise of the veteran pass-catching back.
“I can’t even put into words how much you can learn from a guy like James White,” Harris said. “First of all, being a professional, the way he takes care of his business, the way he comes to work every day with a mentality of being a leader and a go-to guy that we can depend on, and he never lets us down.
“I think that’s also a testament to the way that he leads, the way that he approaches the game and just the type of person that he is. He shows up to work every single day, does his job, does it well, rarely ever makes any mistakes and is just a guy you can (point) to and say, ‘That’s what this team is supposed to be about.’ His toughness, the way he approaches the game mentally, physically, the way he takes care of himself, keeps himself available and then goes out there and does his job.
“Just for short, I think having a guy like that to look up to has been helpful in my development as a player, and I really look up to him a lot. And he knows that. I tell him every day every chance I get. James White is definitely a guy you can say, ‘Yeah, I want to be like James White when I grow up.’ “
White, who missed two games in September following the death of his father, has seen his productivity dip this season. He’s tallied 354 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns over nine appearances after totaling 1,176 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018 and 908 yards and six scores in 2019.
It’s clear, though, that White, now in his third season as a team captain, remains an important part of the Patriots’ offense.