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Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft react to Patriots safety Devin McCourty’s retirement

McCourty is calling it a career, and New England’s leadership is honoring him.

Devin McCourty announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday. Spending his entire 13-year career with the New England Patriots, McCourty left his mark on the organization.

The former first-round draft pick helped bring three Vince Lombardi Trophies to New England, and was a cornerstone of the franchise’s second dynastic run in the 2010s. He also was a perfect example of the so-called Patriot Way: a dependable team-first player, who stood out due to his intelligence, clutch performance, and leadership both on and off the field.

Needless to say that the team’s leadership also saluted him after the news of his stepping away were made public.

“It is a rare group of players who win games at a historic rate, exude team culture, lead, win awards, and win championships,” said head coach Bill Belichick in a statement. “And then there is Devin McCourty. Devin did all of those things as a player and more. But, what I think of first when I think of Devin is the type of man he is, his character, his values and how high he raised the bar for spreading goodness and justice in the community.

“For 13 years, Devin made everyone in our organization feel better and be better because of who he is — a pillar of professionalism, unselfishness, work ethic, preparation, intelligence and performance. I am excited to see him bring those same traits to his next chapter and brighten the lives of even more people.”

Belichick drafted McCourty 27th overall in 2010, and oversaw his development from a talented cornerback to one of the NFL’s best safeties. The Rutgers product appeared in a combined 229 regular season and playoff games — missing just five contests along the way — and was voted a team captain in 12 straight seasons.

“As a Patriots fan, it’s always bittersweet to see such an iconic player announce his retirement, but I couldn’t be happier for Devin, Michelle, and the McCourty family or more thankful to his mother, Phyllis,” added team owner Robert Kraft. “Through his individual performance and overall leadership, Devin has been such an important part of the success we have enjoyed over the past 13 seasons, including each of our last three Super Bowl championships.

“As great as his contributions were on the field, he made an even greater impact in the community, taking a leadership role in his advocacy for finding a cure for sickle cell anemia, effecting legislative change for criminal justice reform, and championing countless other educational and economical advancement initiatives. We couldn’t have asked for a better leader and ambassador, both on and off the field.”

The Patriots honoring McCourty will not stop with those two statements. He also is eligible to be voted into the team Hall of Fame in four years, and likely will also receive a proper farewell at one point during training camp or the season.