The impact that Devin McCourty has had on the New England Patriots ever since his arrival as a first-round draft pick in 2010 is well documented: as one of the best defensive backs in football and a leader in the locker room, McCourty has helped the organization keep its dynasty alive into the 2010s and add three more Super Bowls to its trophy case. But while he shines on the field, his work off it is no less impressive and has now earned him the title of “2020 Boston Uncornered Champion of the Year.”
Boston Uncornered, an initiative aiming to redirect “the entrepreneurial, networking and leadership skills of gang involved youth [...] from violence and incarceration to obtain a college credential and family-sustaining wage” with the goal of driving positive change in local neighborhoods, is actively supported by McCourty. During a virtual fundraiser on Tuesday night, the long-time Patriot was honored for his involvement and continued support of the cause.
The guests appearing on the broadcast and praising McCourty were plenty.
“Devin, it has truly been an honor to coach you. Not only for what you have meant to our football team, but to see you become a great and inspirational man. You are the ultimate role model,” New England head coach Bill Belichick said. “Congratulations for what you have done to improve people’s lives through your work with Boston Uncornered. You are a great example of the impact that someone can have with great wisdom, leadership, courage and passion.
“Conversations across our country and within our team will help lead to paving the way for a better future. Following your lead, and the example of other incredible men on our team, I look forward to increasing my role in this process. Healthy discussion leads to actions — and actions that you have brought to the forefront have resulted in progress,” Belichick continued. “On behalf of the entire team, we want to express our gratitude for everything you represent as a teammate and as a person.”
Belichick was not the only high-profile congratulator who made an appearance: numerous teammates of McCourty, both past and present, also jumped onto the stream to honor the 32-year-old and the charitable work that he has done over the years. Among them was quarterback Tom Brady, who left the Patriots earlier this offseason to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but still referred to McCourty as a “teammate for life.”
“There could certainly not be a better recipient or someone that embodies everything that this award means,” Brady said. “You’re an incredible man, you’re an incredible teammate and an incredible friend. I’ve known you for quite a while and seen you grow from a young man who came in with high expectations, didn’t say much, just wanted to listen to everyone else that was a little bit older than you and learn from them, and you took everything that those people taught you and you made even more of it as you grew older to be one of those guys that everyone else looked up to.
“I know sometimes you wouldn’t think that I would be looking up to you because I’m a lot older than you. But the reality is, I have, and I’ve learned more from you than you probably ever learned from me. You’re a wonderful mean — you mean a lot to me, you mean a lot to our team, and now as you’re growing older into a different role, you’re meaning a lot to others in the community, and you’re using all the wonderful things that pro football has brought you to bring a voice to those who don’t quite have the voice that we have” Brady continued. “You’re making a difference. I couldn’t be prouder of you.”
Others jumping on the show to congratulate McCourty included former Patriots Kyle Van Noy, Duron Harmon and Benjamin Watson, as well as current teammates Matthew Slater, Julian Edelman, James White, Deatrich Wise Jr, David Andrews, Derek Rivers, Patrick Chung, Rex Burkhead and Devin’s twin brother Jason McCourty. Patriots owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft also shared their admiration, as did director of team personnel Nick Caserio and assistant coach Jerod Mayo. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also sent in a video message.
“Congratulations, bro, well deserved. You always do a great job for our team, in the community — in your community. Super proud to be one of your teammates,” Edelman said about McCourty with whom he shared a uniform since the defensive back joined the Patriots 10 years ago.
“Congratulations on another huge honor,” added James White. “It’s been amazing to see what you’re doing in the community. You’re changing a lot of lives. Other guys in the league like myself look up to you, so keep it going.”
“Such a deserving award,” said fellow team captain David Andrews. “I’ve always looked up to you, not just for what you do on the field, but more importantly what you do off it — what you stand for off the field. Congrats, can’t think of someone more deserving.”
“You work just as hard off the field as you do on. I respect that, bro, I really do. So congrats, soak it up, maybe have a little glass of wine. Enjoy it man, congratulations,” Chung added.
“I just wanted to let you know how proud I am off you,” Matthew Slater noted. “I want to congratulate you on this well-deserved recognition. For the longest time, you have been a tremendous leader, an inspiration for all of us. And I’m certainly so thankful to spend the last 10-plus years around you. I’ve grown so much as a man just watching you set an example. Thank you for leading the way, I know you’ll continue to do good things.”
“You continue to inspire me, I continue to follow in your footsteps,” said Jason McCourty. “The work that you continue to do in the community has been a blessing. I look forward to continuing to watch the greatness that you exude off the field.”
As for Devin McCourty himself, he was honored by the congratulatory as he told host Andrea Kremer.
“It’s a little awkward, especially hearing the guys talk about me. But it’s been awesome, just to know that I’ve had an impact on guys in the locker room — that what I’m trying to do is actually getting done,” he said. “I just want to leave people with what I’ve learned from guys you saw, like Matt Slater and Ben Watson, that as people we have an opportunity to really give people hope. And when you give people hope, you give them an opportunity to be anything they want. You give them an opportunity to be who God made them to be. Continue to bring hope to people, and try to bring out the greatness in everyone.”