Devin McCourty knows NFL fans and analysts are “already burying” the New England Patriots and declaring their dynasty as over following the departure of Tom Brady.
Quarterback Brady, a six-time Super Bowl winner with the Pats, joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.
Safety McCourty thought he was going to be following Brady out of New England but ultimately agreed a new two-year deal.
Keeping the franchise’s run of success going at a time they are being written off was one of the key motivations in his decision to stay.
“People are going to say that because Tom’s gone, the dynasty is over,” McCourty wrote in The Players’ Tribune.
“They’re already burying us, far as I can tell. And that’s fine. Let ’em. We’ve never listened to the noise, and we’re not about to start now.
“But the task is definitely taller this coming year than it has been in years past. There’s more work to do. And it’s not gonna be so easy this time around.
“That’s where the new challenge comes in. I thought I had to leave New England to find what I was looking for.
“But it turns out that there is no greater challenge for me right now than leading this Patriots team into a new era and helping ensure that this next wave of players can continue our legacy.
“So much of my development as a football player and as a man has been here in New England, and it’s an honour to hopefully be able to finish my career here and be a Patriot for life.”
A lifetime of memories.
Thank you, Tom. pic.twitter.com/exQPrweT5h
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) March 17, 2020
The Patriots keeping his brother Jason was the other key factor in the decision to stay, as Devin added: “I honestly thought it was time for me to leave New England.
“Going into free agency, I was thinking that at this stage in my career, I was ready for a change.
“I love New England. But after 10 years and winning three Super Bowls, something inside was telling me that I was ready for a new challenge. And I thought I might have to go elsewhere to find it.
“Then my brother’s option got picked up… as much as I wanted a new challenge in my career, I also told myself from the jump that if there was an opportunity to play with my brother again, I would take it.
“I’ve had more fun playing alongside him these last two years than I have in my entire career. So, I got what I wanted: I get to play with my brother again. We’re keeping the family together.”