Foxboro -- Devin McCourty has been the picture of true class in New England since he was drafted in 2010 and his community service was rewarded Thursday as the Pats nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Team owner Robert Kraft was proud to present McCourty with the award.
"This Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is such a special award. One of the privileges of buying the team is getting exposed to so many great young men. But, Devin we drafted in 2010 and I don’t know of anyone else who was elected a captain in his second year and consistent right through. But, he was so mature, so classy, so good. His mom did an outstanding job," Kraft said.
"He is awesome on the field, but what he does outside of here that’s so important to our family, no one exceeds that. That’s why we were happy to award him the Ron Burton Community Award. But, what he and his brother have done in sickle cell anemia and also in social justice, how he helped influence legislation to change the law from young people in this state not being able to be incarcerated – it used to be seven, now it’s 12. But, he helped and was a major force in making that happen, working with the Players Coalition on many issue throughout the league. So, it’s really a great honor to be able to present Devin with this"
Devin was motivated to raise money for sickle cell anemia research because his aunt and uncle had the disease.
"The reason I got into sickle cell was my aunt has the disease, my uncle has the disease, and then the more I looked into it, a lot of minorities have the disease and it just doesn’t get covered. No one really talks about it, and I felt it was the same thing with the different social injustice issues and topics that I kind of dove into. "
Devin hopes the issues he has championed will receive more focus because of the nomination.
“Whether it’s community service or giving back to the community in different ways or helping people, it’s not about yourself. It’s about showing their stories and getting them the well-deserved credit that they deserve," McCourty said.
Devin said his brother Jason deserved just as much credit for the award.
" I don’t think of it as myself. I think you guys know, everything I’ve done, even when he was on another team, was always the McCourty twins. So because of rules, they couldn’t put both of our names on there, but without a doubt, every bit of this should be Devin and Jason McCourty. But, at the end of the day, he really doesn’t care if his name’s on it or not, and I think that’s where we’re probably the most similar. I’m better than him at football, but I would say off the field, we’re very similar," Devin joked.
Jason joked: "How did he get the award and not me. We did the same stuff.”
In a week with negative headlines about Kareem Hunt and Brandon Browner, Devin said it is refreshing for 32 players to receive recognition for their community service.
"Yeah, I think it’s awesome. I think we always have to try to highlight the good things and hope that we’re leading by example and that when people see us, they can see – you know, I think for myself, they can see God working in my life to try to do good things," McCourty said.