Patriots’ Devin And Jason McCourty Cautious Of NFL’s Return
New England Patriots defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty described the possibility of returning to work as nerve-wracking and “scary” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think everybody’s nervous, because the norm is that we just go to work — we put in a lot of work, we bond together, we lift, we’re in close quarters. It feels like that’s all being taken away from us, so I don’t know how to react. I don’t know what’s it’s going to be,” Devin McCourty said Sunday night on the “Double Coverage” podcast.
“I love how a lot of players’ attention has been on what’s going on outside of football, and I think we’ll continue to do that. But figuring out football, to me, seems to be the hardest thing right now. We hope, but I don’t know if we’ll figure it out, honestly.”
The twin brothers said players haven’t been informed when they might return, and Jason added that he wouldn’t take part in a group workout at this time.
“For me, there would be no coming together to do any type of practice with teammates, because I just think we can’t dismiss with corona and everything going on,” he said on the podcast he shares with Jason. “I’ve been out here in Nashville, and I actually go run at the high school where I think a lot of the 49ers players were doing their team-practice ordeal. They just had a player or two test positive, [according to a NFL Network report].
“It’s kind of scary because something like that, I think it was probably just offense, so they probably had maybe 10 guys out there. When you think about the future, if it’s hard for 10 guys just to get together to do little passing drills or anything of that nature, to think about somewhere between 53 and 90 guys in a training camp, it’s going to be insane. So I don’t know how that’s going to turn out.”
One possibility would be to emulate plans by the NBA and MLS for a “bubble” format. In a CNN interview last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that is what the NFL would need to do to give itself the best chance to have a season.
Both McCourtys expressed doubt on how that would work.
“I think it’s very different for football. You think about training camp, there’s 90 guys on the team. Not only are there 90 guys, but there’s a coaching staff usually made up of maybe 15 to 20 … And there are so many other football-essential personnel that are in the building. You’re talking about 32 teams with over 100 members that you have to house; I don’t know if it’s really fathomable for the NFL to be able to go in a bubble,” Jason said.
“Beyond that, I don’t really know — me, personally, I don’t want to ever say never, but I can’t anticipate me being away from the family for that long throughout the entirety of the season. That would be insane. It would feel like forever.”
Added Devin: “I just can’t see me stepping away from my family for that amount of time. When you sign up for different jobs, you kind of discuss it as a family, the hardship of that. For us as players, we never had to think about that. We have training camp kind of in a month and a half, so we haven’t heard until now. The days start counting down. You might be telling your wife with a week’s notice that you’re gone for six months. To me, that would be very tough. If that is on the table, I think that needs to be discussed sooner than later for guys to be able to make that decision.”
At one point in the podcast, Jason was asked the biggest obstacle the Patriots face in 2020, and he said any specific X’s and O’s are overshadowed by the bigger picture.
“[Similar] to every other team in the league, is figuring out how to get into the building. I know that’s kind of the cliché answer right now, but everything that’s gone on with COVID, I think it’s hard at this point to even think about the individual team obstacles that you’re going to have go through because there’s so much going on out of our control right now,” Jason said.
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