There’s no question Devin McCourty, who announced his retirement on Friday, is one of the best defensive players to ever play under coach Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots.
The three-time All-Pro safety not only served as one of the team’s key playmakers for the last 13 years, but he was also a captain and a longtime locker room leader.
There’s clearly no replacing what McCourty, a future Patriots Hall of Famer, brought to the organization. That was evident through the heartfelt statement Belichick put out on Friday.
“It is a rare group of players who win games at a historic rate, exude team culture, lead, win awards, and win championships,” said Belichick. “And then there is Devin McCourty. Devin did all of those things as a player and more. But, what I think of first when I think of Devin is the type of man he is, his character, his values and how high he raised the bar for spreading goodness and justice in community.
“For 13 years, Devin made everyone in our organization feel better and be better because of who he is—a pillar of professionalism, unselfishness, work ethic, preparation, intelligence and performance. I am excited to see him bring those same traits to his next chapter and brighten the lives of even more people.”
Statements from Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick on Devin McCourty’s retirement: pic.twitter.com/uxpwtsxheD
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 10, 2023
That’s some much-deserved praise coming from the greatest coach in NFL history.
McCourty played a huge part in the Patriots’ dynasty and helped the team win three Super Bowls. Of course, there’s the football side of things with the team now scrambling to figure out what to do at safety.
But then there’s the leadership and culture part of it. McCourty was one of those rare breed of players that embodied everything it meant to be a great athlete, teammate and even better person. Losing him now marks an end of an era in New England.
It now falls on the next wave of players to pick up the torch and lead by example.