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Devin McCourty glad to retain “heart and soul” Vince Wilfork

Super Bowl XLVI - Media Day

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31: Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots answers questions from the media during Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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Maybe when Devin McCourty is finished playing for the Patriots, he can work on contracts for them.

The safety said he was lobbying defensive tackle Vince Wilfork last week, when he agreed on a new deal to keep him around, after things had taken an ugly turn.

“It was key,” McCourty said, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I joked with [Wilfork]. I told him I went down to Florida to make sure he came back, so he kind of owes me a little percent of his contract. He’s the heart and soul of not just the defense but the team. Everyone in that locker room listens to Vince when he speaks. He’s not a guy that is just talking all the time or talking to talk. When he speaks, everyone listens.

“With him and [quarterback] Tom [Brady] in there, I think our leadership is in great hands. Keeping him and not letting him leave just goes to show the organization did a tremendous job of working it out and bringing him back. I think everyone else kind of jumped to conclusions and just said he was gone or would leave, but he was still under contract and it was great to see that both sides will be happy going forward.”

McCourty joked that he was the closer, the guy who “brings in the Rutgers guys and keeps the vets.”

But the retention of that veteran core (which Brady took less money to be a part of) is central to the Patriots hopes this year and beyond, as new parts such as Darrelle Revis make more of the headlines.