Cornerback Jason McCourty is in a familiar spot, and it's not simply New England. It's New England and the same secondary as his twin brother, Devin McCourty -- with the two reunited this offseason when the Patriots traded for Jason.
It marks the first time the McCourtys will play together since they were starting cornerbacks and first-team All-Big East selections at Rutgers. Jason left for the pros in 2009 and was a sixth-round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans, while Devin left a year later as a first-round choice of the New England Patriots.
And since then, they've stayed on separate paths ... until now.
Devin played in four Super Bowls -- including three in the past four years -- while Jason has never been part of a playoff team. So the logical question: What has his twin brother told him about playing for the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick? We asked Jason McCourty on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast.
"I guess I've heard a lot over the years about playing here," he said, "and that's helped me a lot with the transition of kind of knowing what to expect. But he's learned a great deal from him.
"Obviously, he's been able to have a lot of success here. Just watching 'Dev' and talking to him over the years and seeing how much he's grown, he really believes the things that they do here are the right way to go about things.
"It's hard to argue with the amount of success they've had. So, I would say the main thing I've learned from him over the years is to just trust in Bill. As a player who's been on the team, he believes wholeheartedly in what they do here and how they go about it."
And why not? Since Devin McCourty arrived in New England the Patriots have gone 102-26, with eight division titles, seven consecutive conference championship games and four Super Bowl appearances -- including three in the past four years.
Jason hasn't been as fortunate, failing to get an invite to the NFL scouting combine, drafted late in the sixth round, experiencing just two winning seasons in the pros and hitting rock bottom a year ago when he played for winless Cleveland.
But that's not all bad. In fact, McCourty said it contributes to a competitive restlessness he's used to his advantage throughout his pro career.
"For me, when you're going in the late rounds you just always have that chip on your shoulder," he said. "At the end of the day, every team that didn't draft me -- including the team that took me 203rd -- everybody passed me a few times. And, for me, that kind of fueled me over the years.
"You paid attention to every cornerback that was drafted before you. you always tried to outperform those guys. And for me, that's always been in the back of my mind -- starting with not being invited to the combine, of wanting to make sure I had a good Pro Day and then getting drafted at the end of the sixth round,
"I was just trying to make it to a second contract before guys. I was trying to outplay guys on the field and trying to last longer than them in the league. I think all of those things go through your head when you're a late-rounder, and you're always trying to prove people wrong."