Jason McCourty's already bringing leadership to the Patriots

Jason McCourty's already bringing leadership to the Patriots

FOXBORO – Over the years, Jason McCourty grew accustomed to sitting and watching football come January.

For nine NFL seasons, the cornerback never played in the playoffs. Meanwhile, his twin brother, Devin McCourty, played in the playoffs in every season of his eight-year NFL career. Jason admits there was professional envy throughout the years. The veteran hopes that streak ends this season as he teams up with his brother in the Patriots secondary.

So far, this offseason has been an exciting one for the McCourty family and perhaps a confusing one for Patriots players and coaches alike. If one thing’s certain, Jason’s different career path has led him to bring a unique perspective in Foxboro this year.

“It’s not like banter or trash talk. It’s more of a reality of the situation,” Jason McCourty said. “Sometimes if [Devin]’s complaining, I can say, ‘hey, remember I was 0-16 last year’ or whatever the case may be. I think it’s more of us talking or acknowledging maybe some diff things they do or maybe that’s what it takes to get there.”

The least surprising thing about the McCourty twins is how close they are. They talk constantly. Always have. They share experiences and have helped each other with their team’s respective game plans over the years.

Throughout Devin’s time in Foxboro, he’s told his brother about what it’s like playing under Bill Belichick and the struggles that come of playing in Gillette Stadium. Jason’s experience of playing for team’s that never made the playoffs have actually helped Devin. Last year, for example, anytime the Patriots safety complained, Jason reminded him that the Cleveland Browns were still winless.

This offseason, it’s been similar. Spring and summer workouts can get tough for everyone. The days grow long and players get tired. Jason brings a stark reminder to his teammates of why they’re working so hard when the start of the regular season seems so far away.

“He brings leadership that I think we don’t have on this team really,” Devin McCourty said. “A guy that’s been on some losing teams, winning teams, he knows how to deal with adversity. I think that’s the biggest thing. Sometimes we’re here, we’re in a routine, we’ve won a lot of football games and it’s always good to hear a different perspective of what it takes so you’re not kind of getting worn down or thinking, ‘we’re working hard, this is too much.’

“You get a perspective of him going 0-16. Like he always tells me, ‘last year, worst year ever.’ I think sharing that motivates you and lets you know you’re doing the right things and it pushes you.”

Unsurprisingly, the McCourty twins have been attached at the hip since coming to Gillette Stadium for offseason workouts. They still talk every day and it’s been a joy to bring their families together (there are five kids between both dads.)

See them together and the connection is undeniable and the banter comes easy. Devin says he’s faster. Jason claims to be stronger. They also tried to trick the media on Tuesday, but that joke usually fails (Jason admits that the two brothers are “0-for-maybe-10” in their lives with that one).

For now, Devin’s trying to help Jason with the playbook. The veteran cornerback has a legitimate chance to replace Malcolm Butler in the Patriots starting lineup.

“Just to have this opportunity, I know he’s been a good player throughout his career,” Devin said.” Aside from us being twins and all that, he’s just been a good veteran player. I thought he had a good year in Cleveland and I thought a change of scenery might help him here.”

The trade that brought Jason to the Patriots in March came about quickly. After the Pats heard that Cleveland might release Jason, they quickly came in with a proposal so the corner wouldn’t hit the open market.

In the end, it was a perfect for the brothers.

“For me, it’s been exciting getting here in the offseason just to see how they train, what things they do,” Jason said. “And from talking to [Devin] over the years, for me to go through it and just to show everybody that I’m just as good as him, I’d been excited to do so.”

Published at Tue, 08 May 2018 20:05:32 +0000