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New England Patriots RB James White inactive after father killed in car crash
8:02 PM ET
  • Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covered Patriots since 1997
    • Joined ESPN in 2009

New England Patriots running back James White‘s father, Tyrone, died in a car accident Sunday, the Broward County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. White was inactive for the team’s 35-30 road loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The wreck that killed Tyrone White happened around 1 p.m. ET in Cooper City, Florida, according to the release.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they found two crashed cars, one flipped over and the other on fire. Deputies and firefighters extinguished the blaze, and an air rescue team transported two people to a hospital.

Tyrone White, a captain with the Miami-Dade Police Department, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Miami-Dade Police Department director Alfredo Ramirez III said on Twitter that one of the people who is hospitalized is Lisa White, Tyrone White’s wife. NBC reported that James White’s mother is in critical condition.

Authorities did not provide details about the condition of the third person who was in the crash.

NBC reported that Patriots owner Robert Kraft offered to fly White to Miami, but White decided to return home with the team.

White was clearly on the minds of his Patriots teammates. When safety Devin McCourty returned an interception for a touchdown on the Seahawks’ opening drive of the game, he flashed two fingers in the air and then eight, a reference to White’s jersey number. On-field microphones picked up McCourty saying, “Twenty-eight, we love you, bro.”

“Our hearts are heavy for James,” McCourty said after the game. “It’s just tough, man. There’s no words you can say. Just wanted to go out there and play our hearts out for him. It’s just devastating. I was heartbroken for him.”

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, a teammate of White’s at Wisconsin, shared his support before kickoff.

Praying for you bro @SweetFeet_White 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) September 20, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who played with White for six seasons in New England, also sent his thoughts to White.

So heartbroken to hear the news of the tragedy of my great friend and forever teammate @SweetFeet_White. There are few people that come into your life that do EVERYTHING the right way…

— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) September 21, 2020

“It’s tough. It’s hard to put into words,” Patriots teammate Matthew Slater said. “We all have mothers and fathers. To lose them, that’s never easy, for a tragedy like that to hit. It hit us all. Puts things in perspective. … There are things that are so much bigger than this game. And today was a reminder of that. Life is such a fragile thing. You just assume that you will wake up and go about your day and return safely, but life doesn’t happen like that.

“For our brother to lose his father and for his parents to be in that accident, it hit us all in the heart. We were struggling. We haven’t processed it yet. That takes time. I don’t have the words to describe how I feel.”

Now in his seventh year with the Patriots, White, 28, has developed into one of the Patriots’ most dependable offensive players. He was voted a captain the past three years.

“Our hearts go out to him,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

In his role as the “passing back,” White has caught 24 touchdown passes in 79 career regular-season games. He needs just two more receiving touchdowns to tie the franchise record by a running back.

Since White became a regular contributor in 2015, he has more receptions (318), receiving yards (2,818) and receiving touchdowns than any other running back in the NFL.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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