Patriots: A year removed from tragedy, White ready to turn the page

After a year no one would wish on their worst enemy, James White is ready to get back to football.

One of the quiet leaders of the team for several years now, White’s voice was missed in the locker room last season after he lost his father in a car accident in September that also placed his mother in critical condition. White’s mom is doing better now, but the grief she, James and the rest of the family are still dealing with will probably never subside.

Still, the eighth-year back out of Wisconsin is ready for the new season to start on Sunday.

“You definitely still get excited,” White said after an in-stadium practice on Friday afternoon, the team’s final tune up before the opener. “First time coming together as a team where the games actually count, so everybody’s kind of chomping at the bit. We’ve got. challenging opponent in the Dolphins they’re going to be ready to play. It’s a division game as well, so it’s always tough when we play those guys, but guys have been working hard all week. We’ve still got some things to sharpen up on, but I think everybody’s going to be ready to go.”

Of course on Thursday night, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers officially kicked off the new season. What did the old running back think of his former teammates Brady and Rob Gronkowski picking up where they seemingly leave off every single season?

“Hey, those are two extremely talented guys,” he said with a grin. “That’s what you expect from those guys every time they step on the field.”

Aside from watching his two former teammates, White – like most of his teammates and other players around the league – were just happy to see football on again, especially with fans in the stands.

“I definitely tune in whenever football’s on,” he said. “It was a high scoring game, but it was definitely good to have football back. Both teams competed until the end and that’s kind of what opening day is like.”

More so than anything this season, White being named a captain again signifies just how highly this organization thinks of the player and the person that he is. The now four-time captain talked about the honor and what it means to him.

“It’s definitely an honor to be voted in by my peers,” he said. “I defiantly don’t take it lightly, just trying to come here to work every day with a positive attitude, being the best version of me I can be. You guys know, I’m not the most vocal person…I’m not always going to say anything I’m trying to lead by example and show the young guys how to operate on and off the field.

“If something needs to be said I’ll say it, but I’m more kind of a lead by example player, but I definitely don’t take the role lightly.”

White won’t be taking his captaincy lightly and his teammates surely won’t be regretting naming the heart and soul of their team as one of the leaders again this season.

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