The New England Patriots’ 2020 season was one of disappointment, but also one of perseverance in light of unprecedented challenges. No players embodied this more than captains Devin McCourty and James White, who continued to serve in major roles for the team despite the personal tragedies both of them suffered over the last year.
As a result, the two have now received the Patriots’ 2020 Ed Block Courage Award. The organization announced the news last week.
The trophy, named after the Baltimore Colts’ long-time athletic trainer, is given out annually to players who “best exemplif[y] the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration.” From the Patriots’ perspective, the two veterans both fall under this category and were therefore worthy of recognition.
McCourty and his wife, Michelle, suffered the loss of their unborn daughter, Mia, in May. Almost eight months into the pregnancy, doctors were unable to detect a heartbeat, leading to a stillbirth. Four months later, White’s parents were involved in a car crash in South Florida that killed his father and left his mother in critical condition.
Despite the tragedies, both players resumed their roles as cornerstones for the Patriots in 2020. McCourty appeared in all 16 of New England’s games as a starting safety, leading the team’s defense in playing time. White, meanwhile, was active for 14 games after sitting out two following his parents’ accident; he finished the season ranked fifth on the team in total touches — including three touchdowns.
Along with the other winners from around the NFL, McCourty and White will be honored at an awards banquet on a yet to be announced date. They are now also the latest members of the Patriots to receive the trophy — joining a list that includes Julian Edelman (2019), Nate Ebner (2018), Matthew Slater (2017), Nate Solder (2016), Jerod Mayo (2015), Rob Gronkowski (2014), Sebastian Vollmer (2013), Logan Mankins (2012), Marcus Cannon (2011), Wes Welker (2010) and Tom Brady (2009).