Patriots Super Bowl 51 Hero Retires With A Champions Resume

August 12, 2022
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James White embodied everything that “The Patriots Way” was, is, and ever could be. But unfortunately, after eight years of being a consistent professional, White has called it quits due to a terrible hip injury. It could be a sad day for Patriots fans. So instead, let’s look back at an incredible career.

Coming out of the 2013 season, the Patriots were carrying six running backs (Blount, Ridley, Vereen, Bolden, Devlin, Washington). I remember the fans who were upset when we drafted the undersized Wisconsin scat-back in the fourth round.

Looking back at that particular round, there were five players of note, and three were drafted by the Patriots (Bryan Stork 105, James White 130, Cameron Flemming 140). The other two were drafted before White (Devontae Freeman & Breshaud Breeland). The rest of that round produced nothing of note. So maybe Belichick had the right idea drafting the running back that gained over 4500 yards from scrimmage and played over 50 games in the big ten.

So with the team having so many backs, many fans wondered what role he would have with New England. Little did fans know at that time he would become the next great example of the “Do Your Job” mantra and would be the most successful player in that round and maybe even the whole draft. I did not say most talented. Success and talent are two different entities that can be connected by hard work. No one worked harder than “Sweet Feet,” and he was rewarded with consecutive captain patches.

Patriots Third-Down Back Praise Continues

In this humble writer’s opinion, James White has won three Super Bowls and should’ve won the MVP against the Falcon since he produced a total of 20 points in the game. That number is the most in Super Bowl history, more than Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, and Rob Gronkowski have been able to produce in the big game.

James follows a pattern of beloved Patriots third down backs, returning to the likes of Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, and Shane Veeran. The only one drafted in the top two rounds has been Faulk. I argue that White should be the best receiving back in Patriots history. Faulk has the longevity and the same number of rings, but he was never the focal point of the offense. The offense depended on White during the Super Bowl 51 run, maybe it is a bit of recency bias, but I am going to go with White.

James White wasn’t just prolific in that one game, over eight seasons of football he produced 4556 yards on 700 touches averaging six and a half yards per touch. Giving White the ball twice is converting the first down, his career catch rate was 74.6%. He was one of the best-receiving back options in the league. His 165 first downs show that he was a weapon that needed to be accounted for.

What Do The Patriots At Running Back Do Now

Well, many people assume that Pierre Strong Jr is the obvious replacement. We haven’t seen much of Strong in camp. So, I think that Rhamondre Stevenson is the player to take on that role in the future. He showed the ability to pass protect and actually run routes rather than just being the dump-off in case of emergencies. His contact balance and vision would give him a leg up on defenders in space to really do some damage.

However, for this season Ty Montgomery is going to have the first chance at that White role, Stevenson will split both the receiving and rushing down work. Damien Harris will continue to get the in-between work. The dark horse in the group is Kevin Harris, I think that he could be the next Damian Harris if he doesn’t reach an extension.

Conclusion

It’s truly the end of an era with James White retiring, the only two players currently on the roster from the dynasty are Devin McCourty and Mathew Slater. The team is in the transition to the next phase of greatness, I just wish White could be a part of it.

Lastly, thank you to James White for giving it his absolute all while playing in New England, showing loyalty by never leaving the team. Drafted a Patriot retired a Patriot, I still think he deserved that Super Bowl MVP more than Tom Brady. White had 139 total yards three touchdowns and a two-point conversation. The greatest third-down running back in Patriots history.

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