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Patriots safety Devin McCourty reportedly not ready to retire yet, plans to play in 2022

Related: Devin McCourty on his future: ‘I’m definitely going to take my time’ to make a decision

New England Patriots v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Devin McCourty has been a cornerstone of the New England Patriots’ defense ever since getting drafted in the first round in 2010. At age 34 and heading towards unrestricted free agency, however, there are questions about his future.

One of them seems to have been answered. According to reports by the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels and CLNS Media’s Evan Lazar, McCourty is planning to continue his career in 2022.

The reports also state that the veteran defender underwent surgery on his thumb since the Patriots’ season came to an end earlier this month.

“I haven’t had a drop-off in athletic ability and the physical traits to play the game,” he recently said on his Double Coverage podcast. “It all really comes down to mentally and being ready, and being able to tap back in and go through a full season. I think those are the things you have to think about, but I’m definitely going to take my time and see what happens for the future.”

As of right now, it seems as if he is still not ready to hang up his cleats.

The 27th overall selection of the 2010 draft, McCourty has appeared in a combined 212 regular season and playoff games over his first 12 seasons in the NFL. He also earned three Super Bowl rings and was voted to two Pro Bowls, three All-Pro teams and the Patriots’ Team of the 2010s.

McCourty had another quality season in 2021, serving as a leader in the team’s defensive backfield and team captain. He appeared in all 18 games and registered three interceptions, but despite his quality performance and desire to keep playing is no lock to return to the Patriots this season.

McCourty, as noted above, will enter unrestricted free agency in mid-March. While theoretically under contract through 2024, his deal will void if he is not signed by the first day of the new league year.

Whether or not the Patriots will bring him back remains to be seen — it would not be a surprise if they retained him on a short-term deal — but the first step to doing so appears to have been taken. McCourty is not planning to call it a career just yet.