The news this week was big enough as to elicit reactions from Devin McCourty’s New England teammates.
On Tuesday, one of his most prominent teammates offered a response.
“Devin’s a drama queen,” said Jason McCourty, Devin’s twin, the brothers so close in resemblance that they can be separated by most people only by their chicken pox scars.
A day earlier at the first mass media session of Super Bowl LIII, Devin, 31 and finishing up his ninth NFL season, acknowledged he might retire after the game Sunday.
Jason said he knew nothing about his brother’s proclamation until he turned on his phone after the session had ended. He read the news and immediately texted his wife, Melissa.
“Look at this,” he said he wrote her, smiling. “Dev’ is just so dramatic.”
After the Patriots traded for Jason in March, this season became a magical reunion for the McCourty twins, both of who play defensive back.
Jason spent the first nine years of his career in Tennessee and Cleveland and, before this month, never had played in an NFL postseason game. His brother, meanwhile, will be making his fifth Super Bowl appearance.
No one in this game has traveled a greater distance — in the standings, at least — to reach Sunday than has Jason. With the Browns in 2017, he finished 0-16.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” he said. “There’s no way I’m sitting at the end of last year and saying, ‘Hey, come next year, I’m going to be in the Super Bowl.’ You just can’t imagine those things.”
Jason is scheduled for free agency after the season, meaning Super Bowl LIII could be the twins’ final game together. Some in the Boston media even have suggested both could retire after the game.
For now, next season might as well be years away.
“As kids, you go to Super Bowl parties and dream about this,” Jason said. “Now, I think about how many kids will be at home making Pizza Rolls and Bagel Bites watching us play in the Super Bowl.
“This opportunity isn’t promised to anyone, no matter who you are. It doesn’t just happen. I bring the perspective of a guy who’s worked his butt off but never had this chance before.”
The notoriously blunt and sometimes gruff Bill Belichick showed a keen sense of humor during a 21-minute session with reporters at the team’s downtown hotel early Tuesday afternoon.
A local reporter asked the Patriots coach if he was surprised that a winter storm expected to drop 1 or 2 inches of snow and ice on Atlanta on Tuesday didn’t materialize, and how the weather has affected the team’s preparations.
“I haven’t been outside of this building today, so I couldn’t tell you,” Belichick said as the ballroom erupted in laughter. “There could be 8 feet of snow out there, it could be 95 degrees. I have no idea. Sorry.”
A reporter from China told Belichick that there are 30 million NFL fans in China, 29 million of which are Patriots fans, many of who are concerned about Belichick’s future.
“Patriots fans in China really care about your retirement plan and wonder, can you make the same pact as Tom Brady did, when he said he’d play until he was 45?” the reporter asked Belichick. “Can you just tell all the fans you will stay for another three, four or five years?”
After a lengthy pause, Belichick responded.
“Well, I certainly appreciate the support from all of our Patriots fans in China — that’s awesome,” he said. “And as far as the future goes, right now the future for me is Sunday night against the Rams.”
Belichick’s patience and playful persona had its limits, though.
“Would you mind if I came up there and took a selfie with you, coach?” an FM radio “reporter” from Boston asked Belichick. “Would that be OK?”
“Yeah … yeah, we’ll get that later,” Belichick said.
“Maybe if I just cut in front of the podium and you waved?” the reporter persisted.
“Next question,” growled the media relations official running the session.
Belichick, to no one’s surprise, departed without taking the selfie.