FOXBOROUGH — Devin McCourty was faced with a bevy of questions as he met with reporters on Thursday, with the majority tilted toward Aaron Hernandez.
The Patriots defensive back did his best to be diplomatic, immediately echoing the sentiments of the organization: “We’re trying to move on.”
“I think, like everyone else, [I’m] just shocked with everything that happened,” said McCourty. “It’s a very sad story. A man lost his life.
“When you deal with anything like that it’s bigger than football, bigger than any of us and obviously our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and everyone involved in this situation.”
Each following question about Hernandez was treated like a winning coin flip, deferred with a canned response of, “We really can’t talk about that with the ongoing investigation.”
“The focus is right now with training camp starting,” added McCourty. “Just getting ready, coming back to play football, we’ll have the same goals we always have as a team; to get better throughout training camp. This will be a distraction if we let it.”
McCourty, who missed spring practice sessions following shoulder surgery, gladly welcomed a change in inquiries to the on-field business that is set to begin with the kickoff training camp on Friday.
“It’s the best time of year,” said McCourty. “You come in and have so much excitement to get back on the field. I think I’m like everyone else, I just can’t wait to get back out there.”
He was hesitant to declare himself 100 percent, saying things were still “day to day,” but McCourty was happy with his progress through rehab and is looking forward to playing with veteran safety Adrian Wilson, a man he affectionately dubbed, “The Incredible Hulk” because of Wilson’s chiseled physique.
“Defensively we have a good core,” said McCourty. “Especially with a guy like Adrian being able to come over. I can’t wait to put on the pads and be out there with him on the field.”
A year ago, McCourty led the Patriots with five interceptions and was third on the team with 82 overall tackles.Now he is looking to elevate his role as he enters his fourth season. A captain last season, he has 46 games of NFL experience he hopes to use to help younger players.
“I’ve talked to the guys about just playing football, taking this opportunity, especially young guys coming into their first training camp,” said McCourty. “Telling them what to expect, just taking advantage of our opportunities and coming out to play
“You always look forward to getting back out here,” said McCourty. “Start of a new season, I think every player knows that all your goals and aspirations that you have for the season starts now.”
And when asked about how the opening of training camp will give a chance for the team to move on from the Hernandez questioning, he simply stated, “It’s always good to get back to football.”