Photo Courtesy of the Boston Herald
PATRIOTS DEFENSIVE BACK DEVIN McCOURTY
July 25, 2018
Q: How’s your brother fitting in?
DM: I guess he’s doing OK. It’s our first day, but I think he’s doing pretty good. I just told him to just act like me as much as possible.
Q: How excited are you to get into this new season? Is today like the first day of school?
DM: Yeah, guys I think are all working out all offseason. You kind of come in today, you want to kind of showcase that passing the conditioning test, feeling good about it. So, it’s an exciting time, I think, for all of us. Obviously, no one loves training camp and doing everything that comes as a part of that and sleeping in the hotel. But, I think the excitement of a new team, coming back together with some guys and new faces and trying to blend all that together – that challenge is tough, but once it comes together, I think you kind of realize when you look back at like this time of the effort and everything you put into it hopefully results into something that you really like.
Q: Does that change throughout the years, from the first couple of years until now? Or do you still get that feeling when you report?
DM: You still get that feeling, but I think the stage you’re at in your career changes. You know, I think when I was young, I was just always worried about how I was going to fit in, what I needed to do to be better. I think now, as you get older, you kind of think more as a team concept of, ‘How do I get everyone on the same page?’ You still have your individual goals of getting better and trying to be a good player, but you also think about how to get everything rolling on the same page, especially from our perspective defensively of trying to be a leader on a unit that’s good, obviously starting in the secondary of having a good secondary. And I think you think about all that stuff coming together, trying to start sooner than later.
Q: When you see the oldest guy on the team, Tom Brady, still grinding away in his 19th year, what comes to mind?
DM: I think we’re spoiled, though. I think we’re so used to that. You don’t think about it. Tom is who Tom is. You know, every day you know you’re going to get him in here early, leaving late, working hard, encouraging guys. The thing I’ve loved about him since I’ve been here – he’s always a guy that you can look up to. He’s always an example. You don’t have to sit there and ask him a ton of question about what he does, how hard he [works] – you just watch him and you can see it. I think anybody who steps foot in the building, you kind of see that right away. So, since I’ve been here, he’s always a guy, you know, he’s in the early part of camp, he’s kind of full-go. As soon as guys are reporting, he’s always already ready to go. You know, it’s so normal for especially a guy like me. It’s my ninth year, so I’ve gotten to watch that nine years in a row that I don’t even think about it. But, as you said, to see him still grinding, I don’t know if I could pull that off for 19 years. You know, I think it’s a huge part of the team’s success and being able to watch him and his leadership.
Q: What’s it like not having Matt Patricia, Malcolm Butler and other familiar faces around?
DM: Normal. I think every year it’s kind of like that. Whether it was Vince Wilfork or Jerod Mayo, it always feels like it’s something else. Last year, it was Logan [Ryan] not being here and getting used to that. So, it’s just a part of the year, and I think that’s why this time is always very exciting and nerve-racking because it’s everything. It’s new guys, it’s old guys, it’s coming together to start to build the 2018 team, which like we always talk about, is going to be different than ‘17, ‘16. It always is. So, with that, we have guys that have been here for a while that are not here, and we can’t think about that. We’ve just got to get ready to go with who’s here.
Q: What was your thought when you saw that the NFL kind of pumped the brakes on the new national anthem policy?
DM: You see how it all works out. I think for us and I know for me, a lot of what I’ve focused on has been what you’ve seen throughout the offseason, doing different things, a DA forum, different op-eds. That will continue to be my focus. So, with the anthem policy, we’ll see how it comes out and what happens, but the work off the field, to me, is what’s been very encouraging throughout the league, seeing guys in different cities doing things. You know, I think with the anthem policy, obviously that’s what you guys have to cover. Hopefully you put a little side note and throw in things that guys have been doing because I think that’s more important than whatever anthem policy.
Q: I know you’ve been working with the Players Coalition throughout the spring. Has the league reached out to you now to help work through the policy?
DM: Well, no, they’ve been involved in us doing things, not the policy. The Players Coalition is mainly focused on off the field, doing things like that, not the anthem policy and the anthem overall. So, no, not that part, but they’ve been involved in doing different things throughout the country.
Q: Have the owners reached out to the players or is it just with NFLPA leadership?
DM: Yeah, that’s PA and NFL.
Q: Do you feel that the players are getting a bad rap and the good work that you’re doing in the community has been ignored?
DM: No, it just needs more coverage. You know? Just keep giving us more coverage. I think the more it’s written about and talked about, I think it comes to the forefront. But, I think like obviously with training camp coming back, the preseason in two weeks, we’ll probably be bombarded with a ton of anthem stories. I’m sure as the weeks go on, you guys will ask me about the anthem more. So, don’t worry, I’ll keep having good off-the-field things that we’ve been doing to tell you. So, you probably won’t hear about the anthem, but I’ll keep trying to bring those things to the spotlight.
Q: What do you have planned next?
DM: I think one of the things that we’re talking about now is trying the different recommendations of the funding for schools throughout Massachusetts. There are some areas that are poverty stricken that need more funds that don’t get it, so obviously Massachusetts has one of the best public school systems in the country, but there are schools, like in Brockton, where kids are struggling because they just need more funding. So, trying to change that. There’s a bill that passed through the Senate, so trying to get it passed through the House now. Myself, Slate [Matthew Slater] and Jason [McCourty] wrote an op-ed on that that posted yesterday. So, that’s one thing that we’re kind of focused on now, but still balanced now that we’re in training camp.
Q: Is it going to be hard to keep that positive momentum going during the season?
DM: No, we’ve already mapped out what you can and can’t do – like, it’s just different. In the spring, we’re balancing family time and doing stuff like that. Now, with the season, you have the season and family, and then when we still can, we’ll do things. But no, we all are older guys and realize it’s a balance of understanding what you can and can’t do.
Q: Do you think there could be a compromise with the anthem that makes everyone happy?
DM: Yeah, like you said earlier, I think that’s a good thing what you’re seeing right now between the PA and the NFL working towards that. So, I think that’s what they’re doing, and I think hopefully something good comes out of it.
Q: Do you feel for Malcolm Mitchell and how he’s been snake-bitten with injuries during his time here?
DM: Yeah, that’s my guy. [He is a] younger guy that obviously you see a lot of him working his butt off to try to get back out there. It’s just sometimes, you know, he’s kind of battled through injuries and being out there, but he’s been a good player when he’s been out there – very effective for us. But, I think the good thing about him is his spirits are always high. He’s always continuing to work. Like he’s not discouraged at all. He continues to put in the work and try to get out there and do whatever he has to do. So, I keep encouraging him, keep him going, but I don’t know if you guys have talked to Malcolm, you can tell he has a good head on his shoulders and knows what he’s doing.
Transcripts are provided by the Patriots media relations department as a courtesy to the media.