For some players who have come through New England, making an impact on the Patriots doesn’t end when you leave the organization or hang up your pads.
Devin McCourty explained as much Tuesday when asked how he goes about establishing the team’s culture among Patriots newcomers. The culture is modified each season based on team personnel, but influence from franchise greats continues to carry over year after year.
“I think that culture question is, it’s just a blend. It’s passed down,” McCourty told reporters. “I never played in a game with Tedy Bruschi or Rodney Harrison or (Willie) McGinest but the things that they did (were passed down) or I saw from Vince Wilfork or I saw from Jerod Mayo. I think that’s what we have to do. Guys like myself, guys like Hightower, guys like Van Noy, (Lawrence Guy). They just do those things. I think it’s so overrated sometimes, the media writing about what a guy said to a guy or what he told these young guys or what was said to free agents. None of that matters. What matters is what we do day in and day out. That’s how the culture is built.
“It’s the guys that have been here and the new guys coming in here with a new twist. It’s everybody coming together to determine what the 2021 Patriots will be. Culture is instilled in the building through generations of players who have come in and given it all and gone out there and won Super Bowls and big games. That stuff is passed down to players through word of mouth from players of different generations. I’m sure you’ll hear Julian Edelman stories around here for the next 15, 25, 30 years. That will be because each time a guy plays with someone he passes it down to another guy and I think that’s what it’s all about when you talk about culture. Guys that have been here will continue to do it and young guys and new guys will see that and learn from that.”
The effort to establish a strong culture doesn’t coincide with the beginning of the regular season. It starts in training camp, which the Patriots kicked off Wednesday in Foxboro.