In two days, the New England Patriots will kick off the 2017 NFL season against the Kansas City Chiefs. Before the game, a) the team will unveil its fifth Super Bowl banner and b) the team's captains will take the field for the first coin toss of the new year. Now, we know who those captains will be (as first reported by NESN's Doug Kyed):
QB Tom Brady
TE Rob Gronkowski
OC David Andrews
LB Dont'a Hightower
FS Devin McCourty
FS Duron Harmon
ST Matthew Slater
Five of the seven players listed above have already served as team captains last season: Tom Brady has been a captain since 2002, while Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater were both promoted to the roles in 2011. Rob Gronkowski and Dont'a Hightower, on the other hand, received the honors for the first time of their respective careers in 2016.
The new names on the list are notable: center David Andrews and free safety Duron Harmon. Both players have received considerable new contract this offseason and have now been voted team captains for the first time. Naturally, seeing their peers show this kind of a respect speaks about how well Andrews and Harmon are respected in the Patriots' locker room.
Harmon, for example, has been noted by multiple of his teammates as one of the most vocal players in the locker room during New England's Super Bowl LI halftime. The Patriots, of course, were down 21-3 but the then-fourth-year safety was a firm believer that the team was capable of turning its fortunes around. His confidence was a sign of things to come – during the game and down the road to him being named captain.