James White returned for the Patriots on Monday night against the Chiefs just more than two weeks after his father, Tyrone, was killed in a car wreck.
Tyrone White, who was a captain in the Miami-Dade Police Department, was killed in the hours leading up to New England’s Week 2 game in Seattle. The New England running back White was inactive for that game and Week 3’s game against the Raiders before returning against Kansas City. The Patriots held a moment of silence before their Week 3 home game in memory of White’s father.
White spoke to reporters after New England’s loss Monday about how his father — his coach growing up — helped pave his path to the NFL.
“He meant a whole lot,” White said postgame. “He’s one of the biggest reasons why I play football — being a little kid, seeing my brother play, knowing that my dad played football. That kind of motivated me to go out there and play football. My dad, he was a coach for me growing up. Obviously, it was not always fun having your dad be your coach, but he pushed me and made me who I am today.”
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Against Kansas City, White was his usual, effective receiving-back self. He reeled in seven passes for 38 yards, while adding 21 yards on the ground. For the first time in his NFL career, though, he played a game without a pregame text from his father.
“I miss getting those texts that he usually sent me on Saturday nights before games … just the simple texts he would send to get me prepared for the games,” White said. “I kind of look back at the last text I got on Saturday before the Seahawks game and kind of reminisce on that, but he meant everything for me. He pushed me. Wouldn’t always tell me what I wanted to hear, but he just always wanted me to do the right thing and push myself and be the best I can be.”
White’s mother, Lisa, also was involved in the crash and was initially reported as being in critical condition. After Monday’s game, White told reporters that his mother is continuing to “improve and progress.” White and the Patriots will continue their season in Week 5 on Sunday against Denver, and White knows how his father would want him to proceed.
“Just trying to push through,” White told NFL Network. “That’s what my dad would want me to do. Just trying to take it one day at a time.”