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Why earning NFL interception milestone in New Jersey was special for Devin McCourty

The longtime Patriots captain leads active players in career interceptions across the NFL. It was only fitting that he reach the milestone in his home state.

Patriots safety Devin McCourty (32) celebrates an interception against the New York Jets.
Patriots safety Devin McCourty (32) celebrates an interception against the New York Jets.

There is no active player in the NFL with as many career interceptions as Devin McCourty.

The Patriots safety snagged his 32nd and 33rd picks in their 22-17 win over the New York Jets on Sunday to secure his spot at the top of the list. Beyond helping earn a road win against a division rival, being at home in New Jersey made the accomplishment even more significant.

"For one, I'm just old," McCourty joked pregame, responding to a question about what the milestone meant to him. "I would say the second thing is being back here."

The longtime Patriots captain played high school football at Saint Joseph Regional in Montvalle, and played college ball at Rutgers before New England took him 27th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.

As accomplished as the three-time Super Bowl champion has been with the Patriots, he isn't taking any moment for granted at this point in his career -- not at the Meadowlands with his family there.

"I don't know how much longer I'll be playing," said the 35-year-old vet. "I don't know if I'll get a chance to be here again playing. So to be back home, J-Mac was at the game – all of those things. To get a win, that's what it's about."

The interceptions were his third and fourth against Zach Wilson in three matchups against the second-year quarterback and made for his seventh against the Jets in his career. He can build on those stats in two weeks as the division opponent in two weeks.

For now, he'll enjoy this win before turning the page to prepare for the Indianapolis Colts.

"(In) year 13, anything I can do to help this team win and teach young guys about the culture of winning is why I'm still playing," McCourty said. "It was fun to be a part of that today making some plays."

Two other individual contributions were celebrated in the Patriots locker room after Monday's victory.

Bill Belichick earned the 325th win of his career, earning him sole possession of second in wins among coaches in NFL history. Matthew Slater, meanwhile, appeared in his 214th game for New England to log the second-most games in franchise history.

The Patriots coach spoke of both team captains Monday morning.

"Those two guys are fantastic leaders, they're right up there at the top of the best I've ever had," Belichick said.

"On and off the field they're unselfish, put the team first, do the right thing, work harder than anybody else, do whatever you ask them to do. You just can't ask for any more than that."

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