FOXBOROUGH — Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy and his wife Marissa thought about spending the bye week back home in Santa Monica.
But the balmy southern California temperatures weren’t enough to convince the couple to splurge on pricey airfare for only a long weekend. Plus, they’d have to contend with the added wrinkle of traveling with a new member of the family: their 9-week-old son Trae.
So, the Van Noys passed up the six-hour flight to stay local. There’s nothing too adventurous on the agenda. A self-proclaimed TV junkie, Van Noy has a number of shows currently in the mix, including “Power,” “Bosch,” and “Snowfall.” He and Marissa also just started the new season of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.”
The Patriots wrapped up at Gillette Stadium early Wednesday afternoon, giving players four full days off before the team resumes practice on Monday. The break represents the longest period of free time since Trae’s birth that Van Noy can dedicate completely to his wife and newborn.
“It’ll be exciting to hang with them,” said Van Noy, who is in the midst of an outstanding season alongside his fellow “Boogeymen.”
The 28-year-old defensive menace isn’t the only new dad on the Patriots. Running back James White and his wife Diana also welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Xzavier, earlier this season. White’s plans for the time off are essentially identical to Van Noy’s: Hang out with family and relax.
“I haven’t been home that much because we’ve been practicing and traveling,” White said. “You wish you could be there more. It kind of goes fast when you’re not at home as much.”
Both players missed a game to be at the hospital the day of their sons’ births. Van Noy was inactive for the season-opener against the Steelers, while White didn’t suit up for New England’s Week 3 matchup against the Jets. Both also returned to practice the next day, with neither skipping a game or practice since.
Given their demanding schedules, balancing fatherhood and football has been a bit of an adjustment for the two professionals. Van Noy and White each credited their wives for easing the transition.
“She makes it real easy,” said Van Noy. “She’s honestly the MVP. She deserves all the credit.”
“The mom is the real trooper because it takes a lot out of them, too,” echoed White.
Although Trae is an infant who, per his dad, spends most of his time eating, sleeping, and crying, Van Noy has enjoyed watching the early stages of development. He says Trae is becoming increasingly active, most recently looking like he’s trying to “run on water.” Trae has also begun smiling and flashing more facial expressions, Van Noy proudly adds.
“He’s trying to figure out how things work,” Van Noy said. “It’s still early, but, as of right now, he’s really chill. He’s kind of like me because he gets angry when he’s hungry. He gets ‘hangry.’ But, other than that, he’s pretty chill.”
White noted Xzavier, too, is already starting to exhibit more personality at seven weeks old. He can use his hands, often to grab at White’s beard. “Soon enough, he’ll be talking and blurting stuff out,” White said. “I’m just trying to enjoy every moment.”
When they’re away — the Patriots’ first game after their bye is in Philadelphia — Van Noy and White receive updates and photos from their wives. But Trae and Xzavier always stay top of mind.
“You have one person to worry about and care for — in a good way,” said Van Noy. “It’s not a scary feeling. It’s not overwhelming, but it’s just a sense of, ‘I got to step up and take care of my own.’ ”
“I want to be an example for him,” added White. “There’s just more responsibility for me. I’m more aware of things, more aware of my surroundings, things of that nature, and things that will protect him and keep him from harm’s way.”