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Low-key McCourty meets with Patriots fans

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  February 16, 2011 08:23 AM

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Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty is headed to Los Angeles for the NBA All-Star game this weekend, but before he heads west, the Pro Bowler was at the Hall at Patriot Place last night.

As part of the Hall's Speakers Series, McCourty entertained 150 fans who asked him all manner of questions, from how he got his start in football to his pulling in interceptions against three potential Hall of Fame players in consecutive weeks, to whether he knows how to cook.

After he signed autographs and posed for pictures with everyone, he also chatted with a few reporters who were on hand.

Since coming back from the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, McCourty has been back home in New York and working out at his alma mater, Rutgers.

Bill Belichick frequently says that the biggest jump for a player is from his rookie year to his second, when he has his first pro offseason to improve, but with the NFL lockout looming, McCourty and the other Patriots players who were rookies in 2010 likely won't have the same type of offseason program players typically have.

McCourty isn't overly worried that his growth might be stunted by the labor issues.

"In a way you worry about it because you're going into a year a little differently, but I'm confident," he said. "I believe in what we do here and when we get back here and get into our normal routine, we'll be ready to go."

McCourty also has the added benefit of having his twin brother, Jason, a corner for the Titans, to train with.

"We push each other hard. It's great to have someone else to compete with."

The first-round pick, who wore a navy blue Nike T-shirt that said "Be True" during his discussion, acknowledged that he played with a cracked rib during the season, but it has not been hurting him since the season ended.

During his Q&A session with fans, McCourty was asked for his thoughts on the 18-game season NFL owners are pushing for.

"As a rookie playing 16 games, as bad as my body felt, I hope we don't play 18 games. But it's out of my control," he said.

McCourty said he enjoyed meeting with fans, and those who attended are "obviously loyal" for coming out just to hear him talk.

After his standout rookie year, many fans told McCourty they can't wait to see what he does in Year 2.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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