Though his New England Patriots tenure is over, Tom Brady still considers Devin McCourty a teammate.
During a virtual fundraiser Tuesday honoring McCourty as Boston Uncornered’s 2020 “Uncornered Champion,” the longtime Patriots safety received a long and heartfelt tribute from his former quarterback.
“Devin, I just wanted to wish you congratulations on Boston’s 2020 Uncornered Champion Award,” Brady said in a recorded video message. “There could certainly not be a better recipient or someone that embodies everything that this award means. You’re an incredible man, you’re an incredible teammate and an incredible friend.
“I’ve known you for quite a while and seen you grow from a young man who came in with high expectations, didn’t say much, just wanted to listen to everyone else that was a little bit older than you and learn from them, and you took everything that those people taught you and you made even more of it as you grew older to be one of those guys that everyone else looked up to.
“I know sometimes you wouldn’t think that I would be looking up to you because I’m a lot older than you, but the reality is, I have, and I’ve learned more from you than you probably ever learned from me. You’re a wonderful man. You mean a lot to me, you mean a lot to our team, and now as you’re growing older into a different role, you’re meaning a lot to others in the community, and you’re using all the wonderful things that pro football has brought you to bring a voice to those who don’t quite have the voice that we have.
“You fight for people that can’t often fight for themselves. It’s a very endearing quality about you among many other things, but the way you attack this aspect of your life is the same way that you became an All-Pro and champion in our great sport. And our great sport means very little compared to what happens in our great communities, and that’s where really, you’re making a difference.
“I couldn’t be prouder of you. I’m a friend of yours for life. You can always count on me, and I just wanted to say congratulations. I’m happy other people are seeing the incredible man you are, the incredible man you’ve become, and I know you’re going to continue on with great work, year after year, because that’s who you are.
“Take care, man. Love you and I’m proud of you.”
Tom Brady gave a glowing congratulatory message to Devin McCourty, who was honored tonight as the 2020 "Boston Uncornered Champion." pic.twitter.com/PvQW6y57XE
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) June 10, 2020
The award recognized McCourty’s work with Boston Uncornered, a community organization aimed at breaking the “cycles of poverty, street-level violence and a widening gap of economic inequality” in the city’s low-income neighborhoods.
McCourty also received congratulatory messages from numerous current and former Patriots teammates, including his brother Jason McCourty, Matthew Slater, Julian Edelman, Patrick Chung, David Andrews, James White, Rex Burkhead, Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers, Kyle Van Noy, Ben Watson, Duron Harmon and Jerod Mayo.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick contributed one of his own, calling McCourty “the ultimate role model” on and off the field. Team owner Robert Kraft announced his family would donate $100,000 to Boston Uncornered — the first of 10 planned donations to local organizations totaling $1 million.
“Devin, it has truly been an honor to coach you,” Belichick said. “Not only what you have meant to our football team, but to see you become a great and inspirational man. You are the ultimate role model. You have given us great leadership on and off the field since 2010 when we drafted you in the first round. You have started every game you played and became a captain in your second year.
“Congratulations for what you have done to improve people’s lives through your work with Boston Uncornered. You are a great example of the impact that someone can have with great wisdom, leadership, courage and passion. Conversations across our country and within our team will help lead to paving the way for a better future. Following your lead, and the example of other incredible men on our team, I look forward to increasing my role in this process. Healthy discussion leads to actions. And actions that you have brought to the forefront have resulted in progress.
“Again, Devin, congratulations on this honor. And on behalf of the entire team, we want to express our gratitude for everything you represent as a teammate and as a person.”