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Patriots captain Devin McCourty shares insight on potential retirement timeline and decision

McCourty has not yet decided if he will return for his 14th season.

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

The New England Patriots announced last Friday that long-time team captain Matthew Slater is set to return for his 16th season with the team. Now, the focus turns to other long-time captain Devin McCourty.

Appearing on the The Patriots Report podcast, McCourty outlined a timeline for his decision, whatever it may be.

“I’ve gone back and forth,” he said. “I think the good thing is I actually have a vacation coming up with the family, and then I’m going to go hang out with [Jason McCourty] for a week. I think just being able to get away from football, especially as you kind of get older, I think it helps you put things in perspective, doing other things.”

After his vacation, McCourty will go back to the media world as he’ll serve as a guest host on Good Morning Football for a week. A decision could then be made as the calendar flips to March with free agency on the horizon.

“Then it’ll be early March, second week in March, and we’ll start to — I think for me and my wife - decide and plan what the next year looks like,” McCourty, who is set to be a free agent, explained. “I think that’s around the time where free agency will be coming up, so it’ll be the right time to really start digging in and make a decision.”

The safety followed a similar game plan last offseason, as he announced his decision to return for Year 13 on March 13 — tweeting out a short six-second video of his two children explaining they’ll be back in Foxboro.

This year is slightly different, however, as McCourty explained it’s the first offseason he has truly contemplated retirement.

“My wife always jokes with me because this is probably the first year that I’ve actually thought about it,” he said on the The Patriots Report. “Usually, I say that. I would say over the last two or three years, ‘I’m thinking about it,’ but as soon as the offseason hits, I’ve gone right back into working out and doing what I’ve always done to get ready for the season.

“[Playing football,] it’s something I’ve been doing since I was 10 years old, so the thought of not getting ready to go, the thought of not playing in the game, even though you think about it, I don’t think it ever becomes real until you do it.”

McCourty, who will turn 36 in August, has been an invaluable piece for the Patriots on and off the field throughout his career. Despite his age, the veteran played a team-high 1,097 defensive snaps (97 percent) and was tied for the team-high with four interceptions last season. He also remains a key leader in the locker room and voice as a defensive signal communicator.

“I look forward to next year and I see me doing different things,” McCourty said. “I also see me playing. I think that’s the really hard thing about trying to decide what’s best for you and your family.”