After 10 years and three Super Bowls, Patriots captain Devin McCourty was ready to leave New England in search of something new. But, as he revealed in a Players’ Tribune article titled “A New New England,” he learned he didn’t have to go far to find what he was looking for.
When his twin brother, Jason, had his option picked up by the team, Devin says his decision was made, because he wanted to keep his family in one place. And with Tom Brady and other players moving on in free agency, the upcoming season “definitely feels different.”
“So I got what I wanted: I get to play with my brother again. We’re keeping the family together,” he wrote. “But it’s kind of ironic because I’m also getting the other thing I wanted — something I thought I’d have to leave New England to find. A new 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. 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.’
McCourty, 32, who said he hopes to “be a Patriot for life,” offered insight into life in New England, Brady’s departure, and his hope for the future:
On “the Patriot Way”
“But what people don’t understand about New England is that it’s not just about winning. It’s about everything else, too. It’s about the work. It’s about being better men. I think that every guy who has come through New England would say that he gained a lot of knowledge and experience that made him a better football player. But they also learned what it means to be a better teammate, a better husband and a better father. I think cultivating that kind of atmosphere is something we take a lot of pride in here.”
On Tom Brady’s departure
“I found out about Tom leaving the same way y’all did. On Twitter. But I kind of knew when we got closer to free agency and he didn’t have a deal done that he wasn’t coming back. It’s still a little surreal because … it’s TOM, you know? He’s been here 20 years. He’s won six rings. He’s the greatest to ever do it. So it definitely won’t be the same now that he’s gone.
"But honestly, I’m happy for him. He’s earned the right to finish his career wherever he wants and chase whatever he feels like he needs to chase.
"I’m just glad he’s doing it in the NFC.”
On the end of a dynasty
“People are going to say that because Tom’s gone, the dynasty is over. They’re already burying us, far as I can tell. 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.”