BOSTON -- Devin McCourty didn't avoid the topic. He smiled when asked what his team could do to improve before next season.
"I would say," he started, "obviously outside of signing Jason . . . "
McCourty's twin brother Jason was released by the Titans this week after eight years in Tennessee. Almost as soon as the news broke, speculation began that there could be a family reunion in Foxboro in the works.
That speculation continued when McCourty joined the the Play it Forward conference at Boston University on Friday, teaming up CSN analyst Brian Scalabrine, Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski and executive director of the Boston Bruins Foundation Bob Sweeney for a discussion on race and gender in sports. Before things got going, host Andrea Kremer alluded to the the Patriots potentially having dueling McCourtys, and the crowd buzzed at the mention of the idea.
Speaking to reporters more in depth on the subject later, McCourty admitted he'd be thrilled to form a safety-corner combo in the Patriots defensive backfield with his brother. He understands, though, that the decision is out of his hands.
"A lot happened for him," McCourty said. "Wednesday he got the call that the team was going to release him. Or [give him] a 'pay cut,' but it was really a release.
"I texted him yesterday, and I was proud of him because I thought that he took the high road in a situation that kind of wasn't great for him, a situation that could've been handled a lot earlier. I think for him now he's in a different type of position. But I'm excited for him. I was hoping we would've been out of Tennessee a couple of years ago, just to experience something different.
"I think obviously now everyone is saying, 'He should come here! He should come here! But you never know. I hope we're interested in him. It's an opportunity . . . Like I've said before we'd love to play together, but I think first and foremost he has to do what's right for his family, where he could actually play and be out there playing.
"He's not at the point in his career where he's going to just sit on the bench so he wants a chance to get out there and compete. I'm excited for him. It's a little bit of the unknown. He's my brother. He should do all right. Just tell people he's related to me."
As McCourty alluded, his brother was dealt a difficult hand by the team that drafted him in the sixth round back in 2008. Instead of hitting free agency last month with the rest of this year's class, he's on the open market after many jobs have been filled. And now with the draft just two weeks away -- featuring a class that looks very deep at corner -- teams may be willing to wait to see which young, cost-effective options they can come away with.
Has McCourty checked in with Bill Belichick to see if the Patriots will be in play for his brother's services?
"Bill doesn't listen to me," McCourty said with a laugh. "If he did listen to me, I'd shoot him a text message and say I don't know if he heard the news but Jason McCourty's a free agent. He'll listen to me sometimes about my opinion in the deep middle, but scouting players he stays away from me. [But] I usually have a good thing with the Rutgers guys so you never know."