Steven Senne/Associated Press
New England Patriots running back James White played in Monday’s 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, marking his return to the field after his father Tyrone’s death in a car crash in which his mother Lisa was injured Sept. 20.
“All that stuff seems kind of surreal to me,” White said, per Michael Giardi of NFL Network. “My mom is continuing to improve and progress and get better, so that eases some of it a little bit. … Just trying to push through. That’s what my dad would want me to do. Just trying to take it one day at a time.”
Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports relayed more of the running back’s comments:
“He meant a whole lot. 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 [Sept. 20] 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 teammates dedicated their Week 3 win over the Las Vegas Raiders to him.
“A lot of us, we think about him every single day and his situation,” fellow running back Rex Burkhead said, per Mike Reiss of ESPN. “He’s just an unbelievable person, player and leader of this team. So him being away—and of course, the situation him and his family are going through—it’s sad. He’s a brother to me. I really feel his pain in this whole situation.”
On the field, White had three carries for 21 yards and seven catches for 38 yards Monday.
His Patriots will host the Denver Broncos on Sunday.