FOXBORO -- James White is used to sharing. In high school, he split carries with Bengals running back Gio Bernard for powerhouse program St. Thomas Aquinas in South Florida. In college, at Wisconsin, he ceded work to future NFL backs John Clay, Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon.
In New England, he wasn't counted on to be an every-down back until Super Bowl LI when Dion Lewis suffered a leg injury at the end of regulation and the Patriots were in the midst of the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.
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In 2017, he's expected to be sharing once again. Though he looks like the front-runner for the team's sub-back work, Lewis is back in the fold and the Patriots added both Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead to the mix. Second-year pro DJ Foster and special-teams maven Brandon Bolden could also compete for touches.
None of that bothers White, who signed a three-year extension this offseason.
"For me, ever since college and Little League, I've always had other guys in the backfield so just make the most of your opportunities," he said of his approach. "Everybody's going to have a role. You may play one play one game. You may play 60 plays one game. Just be ready for the moment when your number's called."
White was ready for his moment last season in Houston with his team's fifth Lombardi Trophy on the line. During the comeback, with the Patriots relying on their sub packages as they threw their way back into contention, White responded with the performance of his career. He scored three times, including the game-winner in overtime, and caught a Super Bowl record 14 passes for 110 yards.
Despite adding another ring to the collection in 2016, the Patriots were aggressive in building their roster this offseason. Burkhead was signed to a one-year deal as a well-rounded back after spending the majority of his career in Cincinnati as a special-teamer behind Bernard and Jeremy Hill on the Bengals running back depth chart. Bill Belichick and his front office also handed their fifth-round pick to the Bills in order to sign Gillislee as a restricted free agent.
Both have impressed White in their short time with the Patriots thus far.
"They fit in very well," White said. "You gotta welcome the guys in. You never know who's going to be here so you get around those guys, help them learn the offense, let them know how we work here, let them get a feel for this system so that they're comfortable and they feel at home . . .
"They're both good football players. I've watched those guys since college. It's great to have more competition here. It's going to bring the best out of each and every player. I think competition brings the best out of you. You compete with each and every one of those guys that we have, and I think it'll make the team better."