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James White balances challenging offseason

Pats veteran captain weighs in on being ready when training camp starts as the team wraps their spring with a focus on social justice.


James White checked in with the media on Thursday as the team prepared to wrap up their offseason team activities which have all been held virtually this year with no on-field work. White and his teammates aren't expected in Foxboro until training camp is scheduled to start, which has provided a new set of challenges this spring.

"I think it's going to be challenging for everybody, not just the younger guys," said White. "Just not being together. We usually have two-and-a-half months of working together and forming that camaraderie, forming those relationships. We're just kind of going to get thrown in the fire a little bit. So you have to come in, study your plays, be in condition so we can limit the amount of mistakes. At the snap of a finger you'll be playing a game, so it will be challenging for everybody across the league and we'll see who can face that adversity. We just have to make the most out of it."

The seventh-year running back acknowledged everyone was doing their own thing to stay in shape and that they'll just have to be prepared to be thrown into the proverbial fire of training camp.

"It's going to be tough those first few days in camp or whenever we start no matter how much you're doing because it's going to be a little bit different once everything's kind of flying around and your coaches are yelling and screaming and all things of that nature," said White. "It will be an adjustment. You just have to be in the best shape possible so whenever we get back out there you're ready to go."

More importantly, White praised the Patriots organization and the conversations that were had in the wake of George Floyd's death and the protests for change that it sparked.

"I think everybody's trying to speak out a little bit more, a lot more people getting more comfortable, letting everybody know how they feel," said White. "And I think that's important and I know some people might not understand that racism and things of that nature still exist, but it does.

"A lot of the guys on the team have been working actively in the community – guys like Devin and Jason McCourty, Matt Slater – they have been going out to try and get laws changed to help the youth and things of that nature. They've always showed a great example of what should be done and how things should be done to make positive change in the world. It's good to have that veteran leadership and the leadership of Mr. Kraft. When you walk into the building you learn the outreach they try to make in the community and trying to make positive change. You learn from day one, as soon as you step in."

White passed along the message he took from Rahsaan Hall, director of the racial justice program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, who spoke to the team last week.

"[E]ducate people, educate yourself, so the world has a better understanding so that we can make change in a positive light," relayed White. "It's not going to change one day just because of protests for two days. We have to actively go out and speak to governors, politicians, all those people so they can hear our voices so things can change as soon as possible because it needs to happen."

Despite so many challenges this offseason, White said the team continued to do their best when it came to focusing on football.

"Coaches are challenging us the best that they could to tap in and learn new information," said White. "I think everybody made the most of the situation that was put in front of us. There's a lot of stuff going on in the world, but during that time with football, everybody was locked in and we spoke on situations that were going on in the world as a team so everybody has a better understanding of the problem."

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