Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer
Safety Devin McCourty (on why he was one of 17 Patriots to kneel during the national anthem): "I'm just going to say how I felt, and how a lot of guys felt. We were all obviously very conflicted. We knew our message would be perceived by a lot of people in a way that wasn't what we were trying to put out. A lot of guys felt all over the place about the comments by the President Friday night. As a leader on the team, a lot of guys came to me and they didn't know what to do and they were just kind of angry. It was good Saturday, we all kind of talked as a group of releasing that anger and not being angry. We were in chaplain, a lot of guys talked about understanding in our faith, God is first. We wanted to come together and first and foremost, we hate that people are going to see it as we don't respect the military and the men and women that are way braver than us, that go and put their life on the line every day for us to have the right to play football. We know people are going to see it that way. Guys have family members – fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters that serve – and they were really conflicted about it. But we just wanted to send a message of unity and being together and not standing for the disrespect and different ways guys felt. So many different things going through a lot of guys heads and it was unique to see guys kind of come together and bond together as a group before the game, and do that. I think all of us want a message that goes out of unity, being together, obviously as a team and a fraternity of NFL players, guys talk throughout the league about that. It was great to be a part of a lot of guys trying to do the right thing. Obviously it won't be seen as the right thing to everybody, but I think in our hearts, what we focused on the most, was that we were trying to do the right thing today. I'm proud of our guys and I'm proud of the group and the guys I get to go out and play football with. They are better people than they are football players."