How Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft Reacted To James White Retirement

'... one of the most respected, best team players I have ever coached'


August 11

James White’s retirement announcement Thursday prompted an outpouring of praise from the top two members of the New England Patriots organization.

Head coach Bill Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft both lauded the veteran running back in team-released statements, thanking the Super Bowl LI hero for his on- and off-the-field contributions.

“James defines the term consummate professional,” Belichick said. “His dependability, consistency, unselfishness and performance under pressure are elite. Combining great intelligence, quickness and elusiveness, James was a perfect fit for our pass offense. While soft-spoken, he brought exceptional leadership and competitive toughness to the team. He was a multi-year team captain and one of the most respected, best team players I have ever coached.”

White played a pivotal role in the second phase of the Patriots dynasty, winning three Super Bowls and playing in another and earning a spot on the franchise’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s. As New England’s longtime third-down back, White led all NFL running backs in catches and receiving touchdowns and ranked second in receiving yards from 2015 through 2021 despite missing most of last season with the hip injury that ultimately ended his career.

“James White has always been one of the most reliable and dependable players on the field,” Kraft said. “He’s a soft-spoken leader who has led by example and was the best at what he did, leading all NFL running backs in receptions and receiving touchdowns over the past seven years. Our fans will remain eternally grateful for his record-setting performance in Super Bowl LI when he helped the Patriots overcome a 28-3 deficit by scoring 20 points, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

“As great of a player as James has been for us, he’s an even better person. He is a man of great character and integrity and earned everyone’s respect through his work ethic, professionalism and positive daily demeanor. James became a part of the Patriots’ family while in New England and while his presence in our locker room will be missed, we are happy for James and his family as they embark on a new adventure. As a three-time Super Bowl champion, we look forward to celebrating his career contributions for years to come.”

White played his entire eight-year career with the Patriots, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2014.’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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