Rob Gronkowski’s football future remains very much up in the air, but the same no longer can be said for Devin McCourty.
McCourty deflected all retirement questions in the week leading up to Super Bowl LIII, creating an air of uncertainty as to whether he’d be back for his 10th NFL season. But during an appearance Thursday on the Sports Spectrum podcast, the veteran safety both announced and explained his decision to suit up for the 2019 campaign.
?I?m gonna play,? McCourty said, as transcribed by ProFootballTalk.
?I think once you get a chance to step away for a couple weeks now, you?re like, ?Yeah, man, I still do want to be around these other young guys that come in.
?It kind of made you realize that if you only play this game for Super Bowls, you?re going to be very empty. Because like as soon as you win it, it?s all about how you can win it next year. . . . All anybody cares about is if we win a seventh championship for the New England organization. So like you have to play for so much more.?
McCourty, who’s missed just five games over the course of nine seasons with the Patriots, has been a staple of New England’s defense since arriving in Foxboro in 2010. The 31-year-old recorded one interception last season — which he returned 84 yards for a touchdown — while logging 82 total tackles, good for the third-highest season mark of his career. McCourty also recovered two fumbles.
The secondary unquestionably was the strength of the Patriots’ defense last season, and with McCourty now confirmed to be back in the mix, you can expect that to continue in 2019.