The New England Patriots were absolutely shocked on Thursday as eight-year veteran running back James White retired out of nowhere. Right after the news broke, head coach Bill Belichick reacted and had some awesome praise for White.

Via Evan Lazar and Zack Cox:

“His dependability, consistency, unselfishness and performance under pressure are elite. … James was a perfect fit for our pass offense.

“He was a multi-year team captain and one of the most respected, best team players I have ever coached.”

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Those are special words from Belichick. White played his entire career with the Patriots after they drafted him out of Wisconsin in the fourth round in 2014. During his time with the franchise, White won three Super Bowls in 2016, 2018, and 2019, but he was sidelined due to an injury for the latter.

It’s not too often Bill Belichick praises players, so White was obviously a special talent and a true-team first guy. To be honest, though, he wasn’t expected to have a big role with New England in 2022. He entered camp on the PUP list and ranked third on the depth chart behind Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson.

That being said, it still came as a surprise that he’s hanging them up. White just inked a two-year extension with the Patriots. Last season, he played in just three games but throughout his NFL tenure, White emerged as a very good pass-catching RB, with his best season coming in 2016 when he collected 751 yards in the air on 87 receptions and seven touchdowns.

Bill Belichick will surely miss White’s presence around this team.