I can and will always support Patriots free safety Devin McCourty and I can and will always be an unabashed homer in his corner of the ring because he is one absolutely amazing human being.
He's smart, he's kind, he's in possession of a magnetic personality that draws people in and leaves them with no question as to why he's meant to be a leader.
Devin McCourty is the Patriots nomination for NFL Man of the Year and there isn't a better candidate in the league.
Since joining the organization in 2010, Devin McCourty has gone above and beyond to support children and families across the New England region. He was selected as the New England Patriots 2014 Ron Burton Community Service award winner, presented to a Patriots player in recognition of his many contributions in the community. His dedication to giving back to children and families in need has been unrivaled over the years.
Devin's aunt was diagnosed with sickle cell disease, an inherited disorder that causes a person's red cells to change shape because of a chemical change in their hemoglobin. It has become the most common genetic disease in the United States. Several years ago, he and his brother Jason created the 'McCourty Twins Tackle Sickle Cell' campaign to increase awareness about sickle cell and raise critical funds for a cure.
Devin has teamed with Boston Children's Hospital to serve as a spokesperson for sickle cell disease. He has hosted a variety of fundraising events in support of the hospital and two nonprofit organizations - Embrace Kids Foundation and Next Step. Devin has hosted an annual casino night, a 5k run/walk and a fundraising contest between him and Jason. He has also coordinated blood drives in New Jersey, including one at his alma mater, Rutgers, to support sickle cell patients.
With the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation (NEPCF), Devin has served as an advocate for education to elementary and middle school students through our education initiatives. He has been a role model to hundreds of students through the NFL's PLAY 60 program and serves as the New England Dairy Council's Fuel Up to Play 60 spokesperson. Devin speaks to children several times each year about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise and leads them through interactive exercise stations at each event.
Devin has also served in a similar role at every Hometown Huddle event and encourages his teammates to get involved as well. Whether it's leading exercise stations, helping to renovate a fitness room or learning how to salsa dance, Devin eagerly takes on each challenge while lighting up the room with his enthusiasm.
Over the years, Devin has been an active participant in our holiday giving programs. He is always willing to volunteer on tasks big and small, preparing Thanksgiving baskets for needy families in Boston, dressing up as a Christmas tree at the children's Hospital Holiday Party and helped children holiday shop for their families.
The NEPCF's Gifts from the Gridiron event is an annual shopping spree for children from homeless shelters. This event was done in partnership with the Vince Wilfork Foundation, but this year, Devin volunteered to take on a leadership role in coordinating and funding this event. Devin's genuine commitment to giving back to the community is truly inspiring, as he epitomizes what it means to be a volunteer.
We are proud to nominate him for this year's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
The Patriots are one of nine franchises, joining historic franchises like the Giants, 49ers, and Browns, that have never won the NFL Man of the Year award. Maybe McCourty can be the first. I can't think of anyone more deserving.