McCourty, Ninkovich named captains

The New England Patriots have named safety Devin McCourty and defensive end Rob Ninkovich as captains in the wake of placing captains Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo on season-ending injured reserve over the past two weeks.

McCourty previously served as a captain in 2011 and 2012. Ninkovich, an eight-year veteran, is a first-time captain in New England.

Second-year linebacker Dont'a Hightower believes both are deserving choices.

“Even before they got labeled as that, you could tell on the field the way they carried themselves, just coaching up some of the other guys and the way they stood up without being asked,” he said.

“With Dev, you could see it with all of the younger guys from Rutgers who came here. And when I first came in, Dev was one of the guys you could always come to and talk to about the playbook or off-the-field stuff.

“Rob is the exact same. He’s an older guy, he’s been with different teams, so he’s seen the good and bad with everything. Whatever he has to say is usually words of wisdom based on what he’s been through.”

Wilfork, Mayo, quarterback Tom Brady, left guard Logan Mankins and special-teamer Matthew Slater were initially named the team’s captains for 2013.