Winslow Townson/Associated Press
The New England Patriots were playing for more than just a win during Sunday’s 36-20 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
As Mike Reiss of ESPN noted, many players and head coach Bill Belichick said the team was thinking about running back James White during the game. Belichick mentioned White during the first part of his postgame comments.
White’s father, Tyrone, died in a Sept. 20 car crash that also left his mother, Lisa, injured.
The running back did not play in Sunday’s game or last week’s contest against the Seattle Seahawks.
“We just try to go out there and play for him,” running back Rex Burkhead said. “A lot of us, we think about him every single day and his situation. He’s just an unbelievable person, player and leader of this team. … He’s a brother to me. I really feel his pain in this whole situation. It’s tough.”
Quarterback Cam Newton echoed those sentiments.
“We just want to reward him and put him in good spirit,” Newton said. “We’re excited like heck to hopefully get him back here soon. We’ve been praying for him, and we need ‘Sweet Feet’ back.”
Veteran wide receiver Julian Edelman pointed to the motivation playing for White provided the team.
“It did give us motivation to go out there and play for him because you know for a fact the kind of guy James White is,” he said. “If something like that happened to one of us, he would do the same thing. It’s been a real tough situation, and my heart, prayers, love and everything goes toward him and his family.”
With White not playing, Burkhead and Sony Michel spearheaded the rushing attack. Burkhead scored three touchdowns in the victory, while Michel ran for 117 yards.
New England, which improved to 2-1 with the win, faces the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4.
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