A mother knows that even an NFL player can use a friendly pick-me-up after a loss

The Boston Globe Sports 3 weeks ago

FOXBOROUGH — Leave it to mom to provide a dose of reality.

Phyllis Harrell’s postgame texts always make her sons smile. Win or lose, Harrell’s message is absorbed by Devin and Jason McCourty.

With the Patriots coming off their first loss of the season and now poised to face an Eagles team that handed them their most recent postseason setback, Devin revealed Monday that his mom is always there to help him get past losses.

Get past. Not necessarily get over, however.

“We just lost to Baltimore and that’s the text I see in my family group chat, ‘Well you know guys, at the end of the day, somebody has to win and somebody has to lose,’ ’’ Devin said. “Every time I see it I laugh because it’s such a simple message and it’s true. It’s a very humbling stance of someone who’s been with me through all my games and she always says that because she knows how we can get after games and she says it to remind us that we need to get into the right perspective to get ready to move on.’’

Devin isn’t “triggered” by the Eagles or the memories of the Super Bowl LII loss, but he does think about the game and replays some of it in his head at times.

“I think it’s anything in life. If you want something or you work hard at it, you don’t ever be like, ‘Yeah, I don’t care about that game anymore,’ ’’ he said. “When I think about it, I’ll think about the plays I want back, the different things we could have done. Like, I’ll always think about that. I still think about Super Bowl XLVI when we lost to the Giants. I think you always do.’’

The key is to learn from it and not let it define you or your career.

The next game is coming no matter what happened last week or last season.

“You still move on. We obviously had to move on last year to play the season. It’s just one of those things — you work hard to get there, and you lose,’’ said Devin.

He then smiled and revealed just how long a loss can stick.

“I lost the state championship game in Pop Warner when I was 12 years old — you know what I mean? We should have kept running the ball, but at the end of the game we started throwing it for no reason — we were up,’’ said Devin turning to Jason, his Valley Cottage backfield mate for that title game, for reassurance.

“We should have just given him the ball left and me the ball right.’’

Devin said the competitor in him will never let him forget those championship games, but he’ll never let himself get tripped up by those memories. He’s more about how he can create better memories.

“From time to time it’ll come across my Twitter or it’ll be on TV or you think about it, but the bigger thing for us, when you’re playing during the season, we want to have a good week,’’ he said.

“That’s a tough team that has a lot of different challenges in the run game and the pass game. To me, that’s more of the focus then losing to them in the Super Bowl a few years ago.’’

Ted Karras acknowledges it was a tough loss and, like McCourty, when he thinks about the game, he thinks what he “could have done different,” but that the best lesson to take from losing a championship game is to win the next one.

“And we did,’’ the center said.

Though he’ll watch the game as part of his preparations for Sunday, it will be with an eye toward the future not the past.

“Hearing the Eagles means we have to play against Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, and Kamu Grugier-Hill (a Patriots sixth-round round draft pick in 2016), who is still a good friend of mine from his time here and he’s a really good player, that’s what hearing the Eagles triggers for me,’’ said Karras.

.   .   .

Joe Cardona, the Patriots nominee for the NFL’s “Salute to Service Award,’’ which “honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community,’’ reiterated what Veterans Day means to him.

“Right now, the current population of the United States that are veteran is below 10 percent — I think they say it’s about 7.6 percent,’’ said the Naval Academy graduate, who still serves as Naval reservist.

“And, realistically, for a day where we can truly honor those that have served and those that continue to serve, it’s always a good opportunity to just recognize them, reach out and thank them for what they’ve done. And that’s what I like doing today — thanking those that are close to me that served and continue to serve.’’

.   .   .

Count Mohamed Sanu as firmly in favor of a Rob Gronkowski comeback. “If he does, I would love it. Believe that,’’ the receiver said . . . Patrick Chung was the lone player not spotted during the media window of a rare Monday practice. The safety has been dealing with heel and chest injuries . . . The team will have Tuesday off and return to practice on Wednesday.


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.


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