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Report: Devin McCourty is back as Patriots captain

10.16.13 at 8:48 pm ET
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Devin McCourty (32) is reportedly back as captain on Patriots defense. (AP)

Devin McCourty (32) is reportedly back as captain on Patriots defense. (AP)

FOXBORO — After being stripped of his captaincy to start this season, Devin McCourty – one of the most popular teammates in the locker room – is back as Patriots captain, according to a report from Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.

McCourty was elected as one of three defensive captains in 2011 and 2012 before not receiving the designation at the end of training camp this summer.

No official reason was ever given for the move, even to McCourty. But on Wednesday, with season-ending injuries to captains Vince Wilfork (Achilles) and Jerod Mayo (right pectoral muscle) , it left a void on the defensive side of the ball. McCourty is already considered the leader in the secondary and may have to move himself this weekend from safety back to corner with a hip injury lingering for Aqib Talib.

Earlier Wednesday, McCourty was asked about possibly filling the void of leadership once again without Mayo and Wilfork on the field.

“Everywhere outside this locker room, everyone’s going to be talking about our loss, but I think we’ve got some guys in here that are excited about their opportunity,” McCourty said. “I think the good thing this year is we have guys that prepare hard and work hard as if they were starting, and now they get that opportunity.”

McCourty said it will take a group effort to replace the leadership.

“We’ve all got to step up and kind of be group captains now,” said McCourty. “I think of it as Mayo and Vince are still our captains.

“When guys get hurt and they can’t be around, guys have to step up. I’ve been appointed one of those guys to step up, but it’s no different, guys on defense have to step up, guys like Steve Gregory, that’s played a lot of football here already; [Brandon] Spikes, a guy that’s a fourth-year player.”

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