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Patriots safety Devin McCourty recently underwent shoulder surgery

New England's team captain went under the knife after the season.

AFC Championship - Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

As the New England Patriots' front office and coaching staff slowly approach 2018's free agency period, the team's players are trying to recharge their batteries after a 19-game season. One part of doing that might be undergoing surgery – and this is exactly what recently happened for Patriots safety Devin McCourty, according to ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss:

This is the time of year when players often undergo surgery to repair nagging ailments from season. Along those lines, Patriots safety Devin McCourty had surgery on his shoulder. Described to me as more of a clean-up procedure.

McCourty appeared in all 19 of New England's games last year and was listed on the team's injury report only once throughout the season: He was limited during the week leading up to the regular season finale because of a shoulder injury. It now appears as if this issue is the reason for McCourty's “clean-up procedure”; by the sounds of it a minor surgery.

The 30-year old finished the 2017 season with a total of 111 tackles as well as a sack and an interception; all while playing 96.4% of the Patriots' defensive snaps. McCourty will again be a core member of the team in 2018 and start at safety alongside Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon – and his surgery lays the groundwork for that.