Belichick delivers heartfelt speech on James White's legacy originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots gave James White a proper sendoff on Tuesday after the running back announced his retirement from the NFL.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and a number of White's former teammates were in attendance for his retirement ceremony at Gillette Stadium. Belichick highlighted the event with a heartfelt speech on the legacy White leaves behind with the organization.
You can read Belichick's full statement below:
"It's certainly been an honor to coach you, James. First exposure really was back in the draft process and the Indy combine. Those numbers weren't too impressive. You weren't big, you weren't fast, didn't jump high, etc. But what those numbers didn't measure is intelligence, toughness, heart, teammate, dependability and longevity. That overrode all of whatever the other ones were.
"You had great hands, great quickness, great instinct for the game. You played your best games at the biggest times, the most critical situations. Third down, two-minute, championship games, Super Bowl games. The poise and competitiveness that came out in those times were truly exceptional. And so I think back to our captains meetings, we sat through a lot of those, and James is the type of guy that didn't have a lot to say in those meetings but what he said was very profound and to the point and right on the money.
"Sometimes we'd talk about some other things, but he always got to the big thing. Ball security, scoring in the red area, doing our job, picking up the blitz, all the things that were important to winning. Never lost sight of those. It's just been a great honor for me to have you on our team, to have your leadership. You're a role model for all of us, not just the other players but honestly for the coaches. Your work ethic, toughness, commitment to the team are something for all of us to emulate and strive to match.
"I just want to wish you the very, very best going forward. You had a tremendous career. I'm very proud to have coached you, very proud of the achievements and accomplishments you've made for the organization, and for what you personally have done for me. I sincerely mean that and we'll miss you, but we'll never forget the contributions and the standard that you set for us. That will live on and those banners that hang up there wouldn't be hanging there without you. So I appreciate all you've done for me, the organization and for our football team."
White was selected by the Patriots out of Wisconsin in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The 30-year-old spent all eight of his NFL seasons in New England, helping the Pats to three Super Bowl titles. He was the hero of Super Bowl LI, when he scored 20 total points including the game-winning touchdown in overtime to complete the historic 28-3 comeback over the Atlanta Falcons. He re-signed on a two-year deal with the Patriots during the offseason but opted to retire due to a hip injury suffered in Week 3 of the 2021 campaign.
White finished his career with 1,278 rushing yards, 3,278 receiving yards, and 36 total touchdowns. He never lost a fumble during his time in the NFL.
Watch White's retirement ceremony in its entirety below: