When the New England Patriots take the field to participate in their offseason workout program, running back James White is not expected to be among them. The veteran has not yet been cleared to return to the field after a season-ending hip injury last September, as pointed out by ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
White, 30, suffered a hip subluxation in a Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He later underwent surgery and spent the remainder of New England’s 2021 season sidelined on the injured reserve list.
Despite his injury status, the Patriots re-signed White in free agency earlier this year. Returning on an incentive-heavy two-year, $5 million deal, the team captain will get a chance to work on his return under team supervision and eventually compete for a roster spot again.
“I still have a little while to go [after] a pretty rough injury,” White said at the Patriots’ draft party at Gillette Stadium last week.
A fourth-round selection by the Patriots in 2014, White spent his entire eight-year career so far with the organization. Along the way, he appeared in 107 combined regular season and playoff games. Gaining 5,208 yards from scrimmage and scoring 44 career touchdowns, he has been a cornerstone of New England’s offensive attack since his sophomore year. White is a three-time Super Bowl winner and was voted to the Patriots’ Team of the 2010s.
His future with the organization is an uncertain one, however. Not only is he coming off a significant injury while on the wrong side of 30, the Patriots also added a pair of running backs in last week’s draft: Pierre Strong was drafted in the fourth round; Kevin Harris was picked in the sixth.
With White’s return to practice TBD, both rookies and fellow youngster J.J. Taylor might get additional opportunities to prove themselves behind starting backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson.