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Devin McCourty is ‘just happy to be back on the field’

01.01.14 at 7:43 pm ET

FOXBORO — Devin McCourty saw the replay of his nasty helmet-to-leg collision with Ed Dickson on Dec. 22 in Baltimore.

“You watch it and I don’t know that much about concussions and all that but just watching it as a player, it was a weird hit but it is what it is,” McCourty said Wednesday, after taking part in his first practice since that awkward, if not scary, looking hit that bent his neck.

But he assured everyone Wednesday that not only was he cleared from his concussion, he was good enough to be back on the practice field.

“€œI’€™m feeling alright, doing pretty good,” McCourty said. ‘€œI mean it’€™s always good to be back on the field if you miss any time. I’€™m just happy to be back on the field.”

McCourty sat out Sunday’s win over the Bills but spoke like someone who figures to be ready to go when the Patriots get back to action Jan. 11 at Gillette Stadium.

“€œI think it’€™s big for us just to get better during this week,” McCourty said. “It’€™s always different at this time of the year. You’€™ve already been through a full season and I think you’€™ve really got to kick in [and be] mentally tough to find the things that you’€™ve not done so well or the things that you’€™ve done well and just try to attack it this week. We’€™ve got a week where it’€™s not so much about preparing for someone because we don’€™t know who we’€™re going to play yet. It’€™s all about fixing the things we feel we need to fix and trying to get better this week.”

McCourty acknowledged Wednesday that he had never dealt with a concussion before.

“€œNo, but I mean a lot of injuries are usually first time [occurrences],” he added. “So, you just take it one day at a time.”

Here is the rest of McCourty’s session with reporters Wednesday at Gillette:

(On the difference between regular season football and postseason football being about the urgency and intensity of the game and what he would say to the rookie defensive backs about what to expect in the game)
‘€œI think that’€™s really it ‘€“ urgency. I mean, you talk about each week could be your last week of playing for the season. I think it’€™s just urgency, but [I would] just tell those guys it’€™s football though. Just keep doing what you’€™ve been doing, keep preparing and get ready to go.’€

(On whether there is a possibility that you can over-prepare for the game as a younger player)
‘€œI don’€™t think so. I think our coaching staff does a great job all the time, year-in and year-out, getting us ready for the different things we need to do. Around here we don’€™t really believe in over-preparing, so you know just trying to keep those guys going and understanding the situation. At the end of the day it’€™s about coming out and playing your best football right now, because that’€™s what we’€™ll need.’€

(On how much he relishes the opportunity to play postseason football after already having a couple seasons of experience in the postseason)
‘€œOh it’€™s huge. Just to be able to be in this position, it’€™s big for us. You know, we’€™ve got to take advantage of it. You see a bunch of teams throughout the league [who aren’€™t in the postseason]. I’€™m really close with my brother [Jason McCourty, cornerback for the Tennessee Titans], and talking to him five years in and not making the playoffs, I really understand how fortunate we are to be in this position. It’€™s all about now taking advantage, seeing what we can do, and now nothing else matters from the regular season. It’€™s all about what can you do in the playoffs and how can you find a way to win.’€

(On Rob Ninkovich feeling that this team is mentally tough and whether he feels the team has gotten mentally stronger over the course of the season)
‘€œYeah, I think we’€™ve seen that throughout the season. I think now it’€™s key that we understand that’€™s over. We’€™ve got to be mentally tough for the postseason ‘€“ we’€™ve got to be mentally tough this week. Know the opponent, get better on the field and I think take it each day at a time. We had a good practice today and now it’€™s all about going out tomorrow and being ready to go and get a good days work in.’€

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