When the cart came out for James White after he sustained a hip injury on Sunday afternoon, the Patriots bench cleared. They walked over to show their teammate, their captain love and support. Former Patriot Chris Hogan, who is now with the Saints, made his way over to White as a sign of respect.
In that instant, as devastating as it was, it was clear just how much White means to the Patriots, not just as a running back, but as a leader and a teammate.
After the game, his teammates praised White as an important locker room presence. Mac Jones said White is someone he tries to emulate.
"He does everything right all the time. It seems like he just goes about his business. He comes into work every day. It's not like he's cutting any corners short because he's an older player and knows it all," Jones said. "He continues to work. That definitely sucked to see him go down. We're all behind him 100 percent, and he's a team leader and he's a great Patriot. We all want to be, if we can, like James. He's a big role model for me."
Kendrick Bourne is in his first year as a Patriot, but it didn't take him long to see why White is as respected as he is.
"I have always been a fan of him from just watching football throughout my life," Bourne said. "I've seen James since I was young and then meeting him in person, it was like, 'Wow he is who he looks like on TV.' So, to lose him is crucial."
David Andrews and Devin McCourty are fellow captains along with White. Even beyond the locker room, Andrews said White is just a good person. Seeing him be taken out of the game was difficult to watch.
"It's a tough part of this game. We don't really know what happened," Andrews said. "You hate it. For a guy like that who does give his all of the team day-in and day-out. The world could use some more James Whites."
McCourty said that as soon as a player sees the cart come onto the field, you know it's not good. To see anyone be taken out of the game like that is a hard part of football, but McCourty knows White to be a strong person. He said he knows he'll be back even stronger, but until them, his thoughts are with him.
"He's a multi time captain, really a huge leader on the team. Any time the cart comes out you know it's serious. It's just tough. It's tough any time you watch one of your main guys, leaders, flag bearers go down," McCourty said. "He's a tough guy, he's resilient, he'll bounce back. I always think about the guy. All the work we put in, to go down, it's just tough to see. I'll be praying for James."