True to its name, the NFL Players Association’s job is to represent players across the National Football League. No matter if it questions of wages, legal counsel (as has been the case during Tom Brady versus the NFL the last two year) or simply monitoring if teams act within the collective bargaining agreement, the NFLPA, in its own words, assures "proper recognition and representation of players’ interests".
Since the players union represents more than 2,000 professional football players spread across the NFL’s 32 teams, it also needs representatives within each franchise. Today, those within the New England Patriots have been announced by the NFLPA:
WR Matthew Slater: Player representative
FS Devin McCourty: Alternate
DE Rob Ninkovich: Alternate
FB James Develin: Alternate
All four are well respected members of the Patriots’ locker room, so it is only natural to see them chosen as the ones to represent its interests within the NFLPA. McCourty and Slater have both served as team captains since 2011, with Ninkovich also being a captain in years past (like Brady, however, he has not been elevated to the role since returning from a four-game suspension).
Fullback James Develin is the biggest surprise on the list, simply because of the fact that he has never been a team captain and plays a rather limited role on the team compared to the others. Still, seeing him chosen to work as an alternate player representative speaks about how much his teammates value his contributions.