The New England Patriots' trade of Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams may have been the right move, but that doesn't mean it was a popular one.
Michel's three-year tenure with the Patriots ended Wednesday when New England dealt him to the running-back needy Rams for an expected fourth-round draft pick. While the 2018 first-round pick battled multiple injuries, he rushed for over 900 yards in each of his two seasons and played a key role in the Patriots' 2018 Super Bowl run.
Michel also was close with several Patriots players, including fellow running back James White. White admitted Wednesday he didn't enjoy hearing the news of Michel's trade.
"Definitely tough. That's my guy," White told reporters after New England's joint practice with the New York Giants. "Being with him since his rookie year and helping him become the player he is today, he's gotten better and better each year.
"It's tough to see him go, for sure. He's a hard worker, tough guy, definitely puts the team first. Definitely going to miss him. Best of luck to him."
White was in his fifth year with the Patriots when Michel joined the team as a rookie out of Georgia in 2018. Michel and White were the team's top two running backs in 2018 and 2019 before Damien Harris emerged in 2020, so it's no surprise the two developed a strong bond.
"Definitely like a little brother," White added of Michel. "He’s from where I am from, so us Florida guys, we kind of gravitate towards each other. Just tried to take him under my wing a little bit and tried to help him be the best player and man on and off the field that he could be."
The NFL is a business, though, and Michel was the odd man out in a deep Patriots running back group that includes Harris, White, J.J. Taylor and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson.
Taylor and Stevenson both have impressed during preseason, so maybe White will take them under his wing with Michel getting a fresh start in Los Angeles.