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Devin McCourty’s a Driving Force, and ‘drama Guy’ to His Favorite Twin

January 30, 2019
Lowell Sun

By Kevin Duffy

Boston Herald

ATLANTA -- Retirement questions popped up for Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski early in Super Bowl week.

Predictably, they were deflected.

The one stunner from Super Bowl media night: Devin McCourty admitted that he’s unsure of his status for 2019 if the Patriots win the Super Bowl. McCourty explained that the feeling of going out a champion while playing with his twin brother, Jason, would be difficult to top.

He’s not wrong.

While this caught most of New England by surprise, McCourty’s brother essentially rolled his eyes.

“I texted my wife, ‘Look at this, Dev is so dramatic,’” Jason McCourty said.

Days away from the first Super Bowl appearance of his 10-year NFL career, Jason McCourty declined to discuss anything beyond this weekend.

“I’m not talking retirement and all that,” McCourty said. “You guys have to find Dev around the hotel and ask him to further go on about his comments.”

McCourty joked: “He’s a drama guy.”

He’s also one of the most important Patriots players of the past decade. Devin McCourty’s an instinctive deep-field safety with impressive range and speed; McCourty topped out at 22.05 miles per hour on a 84-yard interception return against the Bills in Week 8, the third-fastest time recorded in the NFL all year. Only Matt Breida and Dalvin Cook were faster with the ball in their hands. He’s versatile enough to handle man-to-man coverage assignments against tight ends and some receivers, too.

He’s usually one of the most energetic players in the locker room, always up for a debate (yes, he’ll pit Rutgers against any football school). And he’s provided unwavering leadership since arriving in New England in 2010.

What will happen for the Patriots in 2019 if the 31-year-old McCourty moves on? The Patriots have depth and experience at the position, as fellow free safety Duron Harmon plays significant snaps and a year ago served alongside McCourty as a team captain. He’d slide in as the starter. But the Patriots play big nickel -- or three safeties -- as often as any team in the NFL. In the event of a McCourty retirement, the Pats would need to find another starting-caliber safety.

Then there’s the issue of replacing Devin McCourty’s presence in the locker room. That’s almost impossible.

“You see a man who’s so consistent in his character and how he goes about his business, how he’s always putting the team first, how he’s always serving people, you can’t help but want to follow a guy like that,” said Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater. “Obviously, his play on the field has been elite for a number of years. But I think his leadership in the locker room, his wisdom, emotionally the way he leads us, the way he’s willing to stand up in the face of adversity, this team’s not here without Devin McCourty.”

Slater has seen a different side of McCourty this season.

“Not that he hasn’t appreciated the years that he’s had in the past and appreciated the experiences, but there’s such a unique sense of joy to be able to share this with his brother,” Slater said.

Jason McCourty, who hadn’t played alongside Devin since their days at Rutgers a decade ago, got a first-hand look at his brother’s infectious leadership.

While with the Titans and Browns, Jason learned of Devin’s effect on the Patriots through video clips and newspaper stories. He took note whenever he heard Bill Belichick drop Devin a compliment in a press conference.

“But actually seeing it up close and seeing how guys look to him or call him ‘My captain’ or whatever it is, it’s been very humbling to watch,” Jason said.

“To look at him, a young kid growing up who was always tugging on my shorts learning from me,” Jason added, “and now to see him as a captain and a guy who has done so much for this organization as a leader, it’s been fun for me to step in line and follow his lead.”

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