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Bill Belichick calls James White one of the "most respected" players he has ever coached

Patriots running back James White announces his retirement from football
Patriots running back James White announces his retirement from football 00:22

BOSTON -- There has always been a lot of love for James White in Foxboro, with the running back known as one of the hardest working and most professional players in the game. The love reached a new level after White announced his retirement from football on Thursday. 

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has never held back in his praise for White, a favorite of everyone down at One Patriot Place. Belichick released an incredible statement about White shortly after the 30-year-old made his announcement on Thursday.

"James defines the term consummate professional," said Belichick. "His dependability, consistency, unselfishness and performance under pressure are elite. Combining great intelligence, quickness and elusiveness, James was a perfect fit for our pass offense. While soft spoken, he brought exceptional leadership and competitive toughness to the team. He was a multi-year team captain and one of the most respected, best team players I have ever coached."

White was everything the Patriots want out of a player. He was versatile. He was clutch. He was a great leader, and he was a great guy off the field.

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft had plenty of praise for White on Thursday, calling him "the best at what he did." And that acclaim isn't just what White did on the football field.

"James White has always been one of the most reliable and dependable players on the field," said Kraft. "He's a soft-spoken leader who has led by example and was the best at what he did, leading all NFL running backs in receptions and receiving touchdowns over the past seven years. Our fans will remain eternally grateful for his record-setting performance in Super Bowl LI when he helped the Patriots overcome a 28-3 deficit by scoring 20 points, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime. 

"As great of a player as James has been for us, he's an even better person," Kraft continued. "He is a man of great character and integrity and earned everyone's respect through his work ethic, professionalism and positive daily demeanor. James became a part of the Patriots' family while in New England and while his presence in our locker room will be missed, we are happy for James and his family as they embark on a new adventure. As a three-time Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to celebrating his career contributions for years to come."

White ranks eighth on New England's all-time reception list with 381, which is second among running backs behind only Kevin Faulk. He won three championships in his eight seasons with the Patriots, and is best known for scoring the game-winning touchdown in New England's comeback victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. 

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