Patriots

Here’s what Devin McCourty said about his future with the Patriots

The veteran Patriots safety also addressed teammate Stephon Gilmore's absence from the field, saying "he's one of the best corners in the league."

Devin McCourty Stephon Gilmore Patriots
Devin McCourty challenged the idea that veteran players are treated the same way as young players under Bill Belichick. Winslow Townson/AP Images
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Not many players get to stick around with the New England Patriots for as long as Devin McCourty has.

With the retirement of Julian Edelman this offseason, only Matthew Slater (13 seasons) has played in Foxborough longer than McCourty’s 11 years.

But with the veteran safety entering the final year of his two-year deal, inquiring minds put the question to McCourty during his pre-training camp media availability on Tuesday: could Season No. 12 be his last with the team?

For now, McCourty’s punting on that one. He’s got a lot to think about at the moment.

“We’ve got a one-month-old at home,” he remarked. (His wife gave birth to a boy last month.) Between his little one keeping him up at night and getting his new house in Foxborough in order, “I haven’t had much time to consider what it will mean and what it will be.”

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The longtime Patriots defensive back was quick to say that he feels “great” going into the season and is happy to be back with his teammates after last year’s peculiar pre-season experience due to COVID-19.

But he admits the thought of his playing career ending soon has begun to creep into his mind.

“As you get older, you don’t know which year’s your last year,” he said. “I’ll say the last couple years have been like that of coming in with that mentality of — [his brother] Jay’s wife Melissa always says, ‘Enjoy every moment.’ I feel like I’ve tried to do that these last couple years of not knowing when it will end.”

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For now, though, McCourty said he views training camp as something of a “relief” — having three young kids isn’t easy, after all — saying, “I’m enjoying being able to go play football right now.”

When he takes the field for training camp this week, he and his defensive unit will be without arguably its best player in star cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year will begin the preseason on the PUP list as he recovers from a torn quad and remains in a contract dispute with the Patriots.

McCourty said it was “good to see my guy again” and that he expects Gilmore’s contractual issues to be resolved.

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As for the cornerback’s importance to the team’s defense, his defensive backfield mate had nothing but praise to offer.

“He’s one of the best corners in this league,” McCourty said of Gilmore. “He’s been the best guy for the last couple of years, obviously defensive MVP, and he’s really made this defense operate at a different level when he’s out there. So anytime I get an opportunity to be out there on the field with him, gives us a better chance to win, makes us a better defense. So it is great having you here in the locker room and on this team.”

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Patriots training camp officially kicks off Wednesday morning in Foxborough.

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