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Phyllis Harrell is one proud ‘MamaMcCourty’ as Devin McCourty brags about best football family on Patriots

01.17.15 at 12:51 pm ET
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Devin McCourty speaks Friday on his fourth straight AFC title game appearance. (Mike Petraglia/

Devin McCourty speaks Friday on his fourth straight AFC title game appearance. (Mike Petraglia/

FOXBORO — Phyllis Harrell is rightfully proud of her two football sons. After all, it’s not often you get to celebrate not one but two of your kids being simultaneously recognized for their community service and generosity in the same year.

Such is the case with twin brothers Devin and Jason McCourty.

They are two of the 32 players who, in December, were named their team’s Man of the Year and nominees for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award. The NFL-wide winner will be announced Super Bowl eve in Glendale.

Since joining the Patriots in 2010, McCourty has been one of the most active players in the New England community, regularly volunteering to assist the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’€™s many initiatives, volunteering countless hours to help others. McCourty has also teamed with his twin brother, Jason, who plays for the Tennessee Titans, to start a foundation to help fight Sickle Cell, a disease that has affected members of his own family.

On Friday, McCourty was reminded that his mom went to Twitter to show her pride, tweeting, “Words can’t describe how proud this makes me. :)”

Devin’s reaction?

“She did a good job,” McCourty quipped, referring presumably to both the social media tweetup and the raising of her two sons.

“It’€™s an honor. I think that speaks more about who you are as a person than as a football player,” McCourty said, adding a serious tone. “I think that’€™s what’€™s important in life. A lot of what we do is god given ability, not much we had to do being able to be out here playing football, you know. It’€™s hard work but god gave us those abilities, but to go out and be recognized for your work in the community and service I think that’€™s an honor of who you are as a person.”

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, New England Patriots

Tom Brady’s kids ready to cheer him on in Sunday’s AFC championship game

01.17.15 at 12:07 pm ET
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With the AFC championship only a day away, there is plenty of excitement surrounding the game. Tom Brady‘s kids are getting into it as well. Brady posted this photo to his Facebook on Saturday morning of his three kids holding a sign cheering on the Patriots and their dad.

Read More: 2015 playofs, Tom Brady,

Why the Patriots (despite recent history) won’t be overconfident against Andrew Luck, Colts in AFC title game

01.17.15 at 10:27 am ET
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FOXBORO — There’s been plenty of predictions this week on the AFC championship game and precious few have Andrew Luck breaking through a glass ceiling and beating the Patriots to advance to the Super Bowl.

Most prognosticators have the Patriots taking care of business on the Gillette Stadium turf and making preparations for their sixth Super Bowl trip in the Bill Belichick era. After all, this is the fourth time Luck and the Colts are playing the Patriots in the last three years. All previous three have ended in Patriots romps. There was the 59-28 game in 2012 when Rob Gronkowski broke his arm blocking an extra point with Sergio Brown in the vicinity of the crime.

There was the 43-22 kicking of the Colts in last year’s AFC divisional round at Gillette. And this year, there was the 42-20 butt-whooping at Lucas Oil Stadium. That’s a collective 144-70 margin of victory.


“I think overconfidence is not preparing. I think if you prepare I think you give yourself the right and the chance to be confident going in there,” Devin McCourty said Friday. “I think if you don’€™t prepare, you try to fool yourself with being overconfident. That’€™s not something I really worry about with this team. We have a blue collar team and it starts with our quarterback.

And the competitive fire or preparation of Tom Brady has never come into question, as was again revealed this week.

In short, a Bill Belichick team doesn’t get to this stage and ever feel like it’s not prepared for battle. That doesn’t guarantee a victory but you never get the sense that the team was overconfident or not prepared going into the contest.

“There’€™s been plenty of games that we’€™ve played away on the road and on the plane after a win, and as everyone is up walking around, he’€™s in his seat watching film,” McCourty added. “It starts there and it trickles down throughout this whole team. I think this game, being the biggest game of the year, we’€™ve gone over everything as a group [and] talked about everything. I think that gives us the opportunity to be confident going into the game.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 playoffs, AFC Championship, Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower

Bill Belichick, Patriots ready for ‘one-game season’ Sunday vs. Colts

01.16.15 at 7:22 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The 12 regular-season wins. Their sixth straight AFC East title. Overcoming a 2-2 start to win their next seven games. Coming back from two, 14-point deficits in the divisional round against the Ravens. None of that matters come Sunday night for the Patriots.

Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Colts is a one-game season.

“Everybody is putting everything they’€™ve got into it,” coach Bill Belichick said Friday. “It’€™s a one-game season. Nothing to save it for, so I think everybody is trying as hard as they can.”

With the stakes so high — being win or go home — it is obviously different than a regular-season week. So, should the players have more urgency, or prepare like it is any other game. Belichick says he wants a little of both.

“I think it’€™s actually a combination of both of them,” Belichick said. “We’€™ve got a good football team. We’€™ve won a lot of games. We must be doing something right, so we want to keep doing that. At the same time, each game you play at this time of year is more important. We’€™ve been saying that for the last month or month-and-a-half or whatever it’€™s been. As they ramp up, we’€™re closer and closer to the finish line.

“It’€™s a one-week season right now, so there’€™s nothing to save it for. Put everything you’€™ve got into it, so there’€™s definitely more urgency. But I don’€™t think you want to get too far away from doing the things that you’€™ve been successful doing. So, there’€™s a little bit of balance there.”

The Patriots are playing in their fourth straight AFC title game, their ninth in 14 years and their 10th AFC championship game since 1996. For Belichick, this is his ninth as coach of the Patriots. Belichick acknowledges a lot goes into it, with preparation starting all the way back during training camp.

“I mean, it’€™s what you work all year for,” said Belichick. “This is what we’€™ve worked for since basically a year ago this time last year ‘€“ myself and everybody who is a part of the organization ‘€“ is to play in this game. It’€™s a great opportunity, but it’€™s a great challenge. We’€™re playing the best team we’€™ve played all year. We’€™re going to have to play and coach our best football.

“But it’€™s what you live for. It’€™s what you want to do. It’€™s where you want to be. It’€™s a great challenge, but it’€™s a great opportunity, so we’€™re all looking forward to it, and we know we’€™ll have to be at our best.”

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Bill Belichick,

Bryan Stork out for Sunday’s AFC title game; Brandon Browner among 5 probable

01.16.15 at 4:24 pm ET
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Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

FOXBORO — After not practicing all week, it is not surprising that the Patriots have ruled rookie center Bryan Stork out for Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Colts at Gillette Stadium.

Stork suffered a knee injury in last Saturday’s win and hasn’t been spotted in the locker room during any of the media availability periods this week. The Patriots will have to do some shuffling up front, as it is likely Ryan Wendell will slide to center, so they will need a starting right guard. Josh Kline (who played last week once Stork was injured), Cameron Fleming and Marcus Cannon are all candidates.

The Patriots have listed all players who practiced this week on a limited basis as probable. Those are: Brandon Browner (knee), Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), Chris Jones (elbow) and Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe).

Tom Brady (ankle), who was a full participant in practice all week, is listed as probable.

Here is the complete injury report:


C Bryan Stork (knee), did not practice


QB Tom Brady (ankle), full
CB Brandon Browner (knee), limited
LB Dont’€™€™a Hightower (shoulder), limited
DT Chris Jones (elbow), limited
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe), limited

Read More: 2015 playoffs, Patriots injury report,

Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown named honorary captains for Sunday’s AFC title game

01.16.15 at 3:06 pm ET
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Gillette Stadium will play host to Sunday's AFC title game.  (Mike Petraglia/

Gillette Stadium will play host to Sunday’s AFC title game. (Mike Petraglia/

FOXBORO — The Patriots have named the three most recent inductees to the Patriots’ Hall of Fame as honorary captains for Sunday’s AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium against the Colts.

Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown will be honorary captains for the game. All three are three-time Super Bowl champions. The Patriots are playing in their fourth straight conference championship, their ninth in 14 years and their 10th AFC championship game since 1996.

“It is an honor to play in Sunday’€™s AFC championship game in front of our home crowd,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a press release. “We love that we are able to include three of our franchise’€™s most popular players in the pregame ceremonies. I think our fans will really enjoy expressing their appreciation for all the success those three players represent. I am so glad they could each be here to help us in yet another quest to win a championship.”

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, Ty Law

Rob Gronkowski named PFWA Comeback Player of the Year

01.16.15 at 1:54 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots tight Rob Gronkowski had a spectacular 2014 season.

A few weeks back he was named an All-Pro and now he can add another award to his list. Gronkowski was named as the Pro Football Writers of America’s Comeback Player of the Year on Friday.

The tight end missed the final three regular-season games last year and the postseason after tearing his ACL on Dec. 8 against the Browns. Gronkowski didn’t miss anytime this season because of the injury, as he was active Week 1 against the Dolphins. He played 15-of-16 games this season, as he missed the regular-season finale, but he was a healthy scratch in that game to preserve his health for the playoffs.

Gronkowski finished the year with 82 catches for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. Those were the second-best numbers of his career, as he only put up higher numbers in 2011, the last time he played more than 11 games in a season.

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Rob Gronkowski,
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