This story originally appeared as a premium article on ScarletReport.com by Garrett Stepien on March 29, 2017, republished with permission from site manager Sam Hellman.
Although Devin McCourty cannot always be around Rutgers, he never forgets where it started.
The two-time Super Bowl winner and Pro Bowler approaches his eighth year in the NFL, but McCourty still finds the time for his alma mater.
“I get to go back every once in a while,” McCourty said. “Obviously, I watch them a lot, so sometimes I watch them from a distance. I don’t always get to go back and schedule and things like that, but … any time I can, I try to get involved to check out the team and be around.”
The former Scarlet Knight returned to campus Tuesday for the third practice of the spring to see the team in action and deliver a speech afterward. McCourty spent time with the Rutgers staff as well as former fellow captains Mike Teel and Kevin Malast.
One area that stands out to McCourty is his old defensive backs position group.
Rutgers made strides in a secondary currently in the transition from young and inexperienced to improved and battle-tested.
“Just from the games that I watched, I loved that they just went and competed,” McCourty said. “I remember watching the Ohio State game. Obviously, a team that had a ton of talent, a team that, on paper, really seemed like (Rutgers) had no shot.
“First half, (the defensive backs) competed. Guys throwing deep balls, attacking the corners, they’re getting pass break ups, they’re confident and I think that’s how you become a good player in the secondary. Not everything’s going to go your way, but you’ve just got to compete, and I think with that and another offseason of improving and getting better, I’m excited about their secondary.”
For as much as McCourty remains involved with Rutgers on the field, he is just as involved off of it.
McCourty linked up with former teammates and Rutgers players in Antonio Lowery’s charity basketball event Saturday at New Brunswick High School, less than 24 hours after the Super Rally at the Alley in New York.
“This event’s always cool because going to school here, we were always in this community, whether it was going to a barbershop, going to a local event,” McCourty said. “So, I feel like any time I come back here, I know so many people. It’s almost like you kind of grew into a man in this area. So, I love just playing in this basketball game, hanging around, having fun with guys you went to school with and I think we all enjoy giving back.”
With sustained success in football and philanthropy, both started for McCourty at Rutgers.
“It’s been fun,” McCourty said. “I think some day when I retire and get to look back at on my career — especially a guy who started out, probably got a scholarship to Rutgers because of my brother — and look up now being able to play in the league … for me, it’s just a dream come true and I’m just trying to enjoy the process.”