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Patriots safety Devin McCourty is set to return for the 2019 season

After sparking rumors of retirement, Devin McCourty states he is “gonna play” in 2019.

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Patriots safety Devin McCourty sparked rumors of his retirement in the days leading up to Super Bowl 53. Now he states he is ready to return to the field in 2019: “I’m gonna play,” McCourty told the Sports Spectrum podcast on Thursday.

The retirement speculation first started during Opening Night in Atlanta as McCourty didn't think anything could top winning a Super Bowl with his twin brother, Jason.

“I think once you get a chance to step away for a couple weeks now, you’re like, ‘Yeah, man, I still do want to be around these other young guys that come in,’” McCourty said Thursday after reflecting on why he plays the game.

“It kind of made you realize that if you only play this game for Super Bowls, you’re going to be very empty,” he said. “Because like as soon as you win it, it’s all about how you can win it next year... All anybody cares about is if we win a seventh championship for the New England organization. So like you have to play for so much more.”

McCourty returning will be key for New England’s defense both on and off the field. Not only is he one of the most consistent safeties in the league, but he has been a Patriot team captain since 2011.

The leadership continuity on defense will be vital, as New England is featuring a new defensive coordinator for a third straight season. Greg Schiano is set to replace de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who departed to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Devin enter the last season of the five-year, $47.5 million contract he signed back in 2015. He is currently set to have a cap hit of over $13 million for the 2019 season.