New England Patriots running back James White returned to action for the first time on Monday night since tragically losing his father in a car accident.
Tyrone White died in Florida on Sunday, September 20 while White’s mother Lisa suffered life-threatening injuries in the same crash hours prior to the Patriots’ meeting with the Seattle Seahawks.
Having been absent for the Patriots’ last two games, White rushed for 21 yards on three carries and made seven catches for 38 yards in Monday night’s 26-10 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Speaking after the game, the 28-year-old admitted he is still coming to terms with everything.
“I’m doing alright,” said White. “Just trying to kind of take it day by day. Honestly all that stuff still seems kind of surreal to me.
“My mum has continued to improve and progress and get better so that eases my pain a little bit and being out on the football field eases my mind a little bit too so I’m just trying to push through.
“That’s what my dad would want me to do so I’m just trying to take it one day at a time and find a way to look at the positives in my life.”
White continued to explain that he has been helped by wave of support he has received from across the Patriots organisation and the entire league in the wake of the incident.
“My teammates were there for me every step of the way,” he added. “It’s a family like atmosphere in this locker room from texts to phone calls, tweets, old teammates, fans, everybody reaching out.
“It was extremely tough for me, my mind still can’t really wrap itself around everything, I’m still trying to process everything. Just hearing from them and them being there for me definitely helped.”
The Wisconsin product paid tribute to his father as one of his prime influences in football, recalling his tough coaching style and his weekly messages on the eve of a game.
“He meant a whole lot,” explained White. “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.
“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.
“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.”
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