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Patriots name Rob Ninkovich and Devin McCourty to fill void at captain

10.18.13 at 3:52 pm ET

The Patriots announced Friday that with the move of Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo to season-ending injured reserve, defensive end Rob Ninkovich and defensive back Devin McCourty have been named to replace them as captains.

Ninkovich is in his fifth season with the Patriots, and has grown into one of the most respected players in the locker room. Earlier in the week, he spoke about the need for more players to step forward in the wake of the injuries to Wilfork and Mayo.

“It’s unfortunate. Those types of things happen in the NFL,” Ninkovich said. “We have to go play without him now, so everyone has to step up and do the best they can. For me, whatever it is — help the younger guys out. Anybody who has to step into that role and produce. You just have to move on.

“I think that any time there’s a guy like Mayo or Vince that goes down, everyone on the defense has to step up and just go out there and be a good leader by example,” he added, “Just do your job and do the right things on the field. Again, that’s something that just comes with being here five years now. I have to go out there and do my job — what’s asked of me — and do it to the best of my abilities. I think everyone else has that mentality of ‘Hey, we have to go out there and work together as a team and play good solid defense.'”

As for McCourty, he has previously served as a captain, and has come into his own as a leader since arriving in Foxboro in 2010.

“You know for me, I think of it as Mayo and Vince are still our captains, and just stepping in and filling a title or a role, but just to keep doing what I’ve been doing,” McCourty said earlier in the week. “Keep being a leader on the defense. To me, those two will be the captains — they were voted captains earlier this season. My job now is 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, who has played a lot of football here already. [Brandon] Spikes, a guy who is a fourth year player as well. We all have to step up and kind of be group captains now. You can’t replace two guys who have already been voted captains.”

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