Football players get hollered at. It’s part of the deal.
Whether it’s on the practice field, on the sideline during a game, in the weight room, or in the film room, someone is always letting them have it.
Like all NFLers, James White hasn’t been able to be around his coaches lately, but he’s still hearing it — only now it’s from his son, Xzavier, who was born in September.
"He’s growing each and every day, yelling and screaming at me, fighting me when I’m feeding him,’’ a smiling White said Thursday via video conference from his Florida home. "It’s been interesting.’’
White is taking home confinement in stride as he prepares for the upcoming season. He knows the offseason schedule is likely to be further interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I’m on the treadmill, using dumbbells, doing abs, trying to do some yoga, jump rope,’’ said White. "I’ll probably run outside tomorrow a little bit since it’s pretty hot down here.’’
White acknowledged everyone is faced with challenges to keep themselves in shape and be ready to go once the NFL gives the go-ahead to return.
"It’s just not easy for everybody,’’ he said. "Not everybody has access to weights or is able to run. It’s cold in some places … So, it’ll be interesting to see how guys find ways to stay in shape, and I hope everybody has some sort of access to do something, because we’re a business. You need to be in shape once you get back out there, so I just hope everybody’s doing something.’’
One thing White is sure of is that Bill Belichick will have a plan in place to put the club in the best possible position when the NFL returns.
"Coach Belichick will do a great job of preparing us no matter what the situation may be,’’ said White, who is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $3 million this season. "Things may be a littler faster paced because we’ll be missing some of the OTAs, things of that nature. Completely confident in what he’ll have prepared for us.
"Myself and all of the other leaders do a good job of making sure everybody’s trying to stay in shape, staying up fresh on the offense, defense, special teams, so whenever we can get back going it’s not everybody slowing into everything, we’ll kind of hit it at a fast pace.’’
White has turned into one of the most reliable players in the organization and one of the top receiving running backs in the NFL. He was a key cog in an offense that was eighth in passing (247.6 yards per game) and 18th in rushing (106.4).
White knows it’ll be different without Tom Brady firing the ball into his hands or tucking it into his belly, but he expressed confidence in both Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.
"Expectations don’t change. As soon as you step into that building, you’re expected to compete at a high level, be dependable, be a great teammate,” said White. "This is a, 'What have you done for me lately?’ league. So you have to come back in and restart over, refresh, and show your teammates that you’re reliable and that you can compete — for 60 minutes, on the practice field, whatever it is — so we can build those relationships and build that reliability each and every time you go out there.”