Patriots

Damien Harris: ‘I want to be like James White when I grow up’

"I can’t even put into words how much you can learn from a guy like James White."

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris had high praise for teammate James White. AP Photo/Stew Milne

Damien Harris’s 2020 season has been impressive. The second-year running back has rushed for a team-high 561 yards on 110 attempts in just eight games, punching in two touchdowns along the way.

Despite proving himself to be the team’s top running back this season, Harris is still aspiring to get better. One of his inspirations is not just a teammate, but also someone who he shares time with in the Patriots’ backfield.

When speaking to reporters Thursday, Harris shared how much he’s learned from James White — and not just from a playing aspect.

“I can’t even put into words how much you can learn from a guy like James White,” Harris said. “First of all, being a professional, the way he takes care of his business, the way he comes to work every day with a mentality of being a leader and a go-to guy that we can depend on, and he never lets us down.

“I think that’s also a testament to the way that he leads, the way that he approaches the game and just the type of person that he is. He shows up to work every single day, does his job, does it well, rarely ever makes any mistakes and is just a guy you can (point) to and say, ‘That’s what this team is supposed to be about.'”

Harris said that White’s “toughness” and “the way he approaches” football helped him grow as a player after being inactive for the majority of his rookie season.

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“Just for short, I think having a guy like that to look up to has been helpful in my development as a player, and I really look up to him a lot. And he knows that,” Harris said. “I tell him every day, every chance I get. James White is definitely a guy you can say, ‘Yeah, I want to be like James White when I grow up.'”

White, who is one of the Patriots’ eight captains, has certainly appeared to make an impact on the Patriots despite a dip in his stats this season. The running back mostly known for his receiving abilities has 34 catches for 266 yards this season, which is on pace for less than the 72 catches for 645 yards he had in 2019.

White did miss two games earlier this season in the aftermath of his father’s tragic death in a car crash, and appears to be picking up playing time lately. In the first game after Rex Burkhead tore his ACL, White rushed for two touchdowns in the Patriots’ win over the Cardinals.

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