Devin McCourty: ‘The dynasty is over. They’re already burying us.’

Andy Hart
March 24, 2020 - 8:52 am
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As he approached free agency this offseason, Patriots veteran safety Devin McCourty was “ready for a challenge” and thought he might be ready to leave New England.

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Now, though, after re-signing with the Patriots on a two-year, $23 million deal to continue playing alongside his twin brother, Jason, Devin realizes that the greatest challenge he can face is in the place he’s called NFL home for the entirety of his 10-year career.

Devin McCourty is now one of the veteran leaders, captains and mainstays around upon which the post-Tom Brady Patriots will be built in 2020. Talk about a challenge.

“People are going to say that because Tom’s gone, the dynasty is over. They’re already burying us, far as I can tell,” McCourty wrote in a post on The Players’ Tribune. “And that’s fine. Let ’em. We’ve never listened to the noise, and we’re not about to start now. But the task is definitely taller this coming year than it has been in years past. There’s more work to do. And it’s not gonna be so easy this time around.

“That’s where the new challenge comes in.

“I thought I had to leave New England to find what I was looking for. But it turns out that there is no greater challenge for me right now than leading this Patriots team into a new era and helping ensure that this next wave of players can continue our legacy and build on what we’ve already achieved as a franchise.”

While Brady’s departure presents a clear challenge, and the $23 million certainly helped lure McCourty back to New England, the biggest factor in his return may have been when the Patriots picked up a contract option for Jason McCourty for 2020. That set the ball in motion for both brothers to return and continue playing together, something they’ve cherished over their last two years in Foxborough.

“Then my brother’s option got picked up, and the first thing I thought about was Week 3 of last season. We had just beaten the Jets at home in Foxborough. My mom had driven up from Jersey, like she does for every home game, and my brother, our wives and kids were there, too. So the whole family was there. And after the game — after the whole stadium had emptied out and we were the only ones left and the sun was going down — the adults watched as the kids ran around on the field for like an hour, just going crazy and having the time of their lives,” McCourty wrote on The Players’ Tribune.

“And there was this moment where I kind of zoomed out on the whole thing — the kids, my mom, having my brother there — and it was like, Man … THIS is what it’s all about.

“Family.

“And as much as I wanted a new challenge in my career, I also told myself from the jump that if there was an opportunity to play with my brother again, I would take it.”

In doing so, Devin McCourty knows he’s taking on the biggest challenge of his career. Bigger than the expectations as a first-round pick cornerback. Bigger than having to transition to safety after flaming out at cornerback. Bigger than living up to a nearly $50 million contract.

Now McCourty has to guide the Patriots through a massive transition, not just considering Brady’s departure but the free agent exodus of Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and others that has McCourty noting this offseason “definitely feels different.”

McCourty acknowledges that the challenge for both himself and the Patriots is huge, but promises to put everything he has into the next chapter of life in New England.

“So thanks for all your love and support, New England. I don’t know what the future holds in this new era of Patriots football, but what I can promise you is that we’re going to work,” McCourty wrote. “That’s what we do. That’s what we’ve always done. And no matter who comes and goes, that’s one thing that will always stay the same.

See you in training camp.”

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