A few hours before the New England Patriots’ preseason opener, James White took to social media to announce some news: the veteran running back and team captain is retiring from the NFL.
White, 30, posted a statement saying that “to be able to play my entire career for one franchise, in front of the best fans in the NFL, has been a tremendous blessing and honor.”
New England will be in my heart forever. Thank you for unwavering support over the years. I am forever grateful.— James White (@SweetFeet_White) August 11, 2022
This chapter has been one that I will cherish. I look forward to what is next. pic.twitter.com/8qd0FbA0tW
White originally arrived in the NFL in 2014, as a fourth-round draft selection by the Patriots. While he did not see any noteworthy playing time during his rookie season — he was a depth option behind Shane Vereen — his role started to expand in his second year and with Vereen having left New England in free agency. After sharing pass-catching/change-of-pace duties with Dion Lewis in 2015, White established himself as the team’s top third down and receiving back by the 2016 season.
While a comparatively limited threat as a ball carrier, White proved his value time and again during the Patriots’ Super Bowl run that year and had an especially impressive performance in the title game: he set a new Super Bowl record for points scored by finding the end zone a combined four times, registered three touchdowns as well as a two-point conversion. In total, he contributed 139 yards from scrimmage that against the Atlanta Falcons, playing a key role in New England’s comeback from a 28-3 deficit in the late third quarter.
Super Bowl LI is his signature performance and made him a household name, but White’s experience and contributions to the Patriots offense through the years extend far beyond that one game.
He ends his career with 95 regular season and 12 playoff games on his résumé, has gained a combined 5,208 yards from scrimmage, and has scored 44 career touchdowns. He was also voted to New England’s Team of the 2010s and became one of the most potent and reliable backfield receivers in the entire NFL.
While a hip injury cost him all of most of 2021 season and eventually now led to his retirement, his status as a franchise legend and future Patriots Hall of Famer is without question.