Devin McCourty’s retirement press conference was both a look back and a look ahead
13-year Patriots safety Devin McCourty said his goodbyes to the Patriots and New England as an NFL player on Tuesday afternoon. The Patriots hosted an event at the team Hall of Fame where McCourty, team owner Robert Kraft, and head coach Bill Belichick spoke for a total of just over an hour.
All three were mainly retrospective in their comments. Kraft spoke about meeting McCourty following the Patriots drafting him in 2010, as well as his relationship with his brother Jason, who was in attendance. Belichick recalled his first pre-draft meeting with McCourty at Rutgers, sharing how impressed he was with McCourty’s ability to break down the film of an entire defense (at 17:18 of the clip below), not just his defensive backs group. And McCourty himself spoke at length about the impact his teammates and coaches in New England had on him as a player and person. The full comments can be seen below…
For a player hanging up his cleats though, McCourty spent a good amount of time talking about the future of the team he’s stepping away from. “I’m going to miss relationships more than football, but what I’m excited about is watching this team grow,” McCourty said.
“I look at my guy Mac [Jones]. First row, right here, here to support me. And I look at the team and I know, the team has great leadership because of a guy like him,” McCourty added. “Seeing my guy Bent [Ja’Whaun Bentley] in the back, who was a young vet as soon as he got here. We looked at him to be a leader as a rookie, and I’ve seen the growth that he’s had.”
“I know this team is in great hands,” McCourty said.
Asked for his advice for the next generation of Patriots leaders, McCourty kept it simple. “I’ve had the opportunity to sit with a bunch of these guys that are probably going to be captains again next year in the captains meetings. I think the greatest thing you can do as a leader is just being yourself. They all know that, I’ve said that to all of these guys multiple times, ‘Just be yourself,'” he shared.
McCourty also spoke about what he sees his future relationship with the team being like. “I’m so excited to watch the game of football and root this team on, and be one of those crazy, avid Patriots fans,” he said. “I’m excited to not say goodbye to the fans, but embrace them as a fan,” McCourty continued, mentioning tailgating and sitting in the stands at Gillette Stadium in the future.
Just how crazy of a fan does he plan on becoming? His teammates are going to hear about it.
“We’ll be like those crazy guys. If Mac throws an interception I’m going to be cursing him out,” he said with a laugh. “If Bent misses a tackle I’m going to curse him out. I’m a fan now. They have to have a perfect game. That is the expectation as a fan.”
Even though McCourty is transitioning to life as a fan, this likely wasn’t the last time he’ll address Patriots media from behind a podium. Both Kraft and Belichick suggested McCourty will be honored by the team “in four years,” referencing how long after retirement a player becomes eligible for induction into the Patriots team Hall of Fame.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.