The New England Patriots have announced their team captains for the upcoming season.
On Wednesday, Patriots’ players voted center David Andrews, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Devin McCourty, special teamer Matthew Slater and running back James White as their five captains for 2021.
White and Andrews enter their fourth and fifth seasons as captains, respectively; while McCourty and Slater have each been named for the eleventh time.
Following his opting-out of the 2020 season amidst pandemic concerns, Hightower is once again a team captain; his fourth time receiving the honor.
The number of Patriots captains had decreased from the previous season. In 2020, New England had a total of eight captains. Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley were named first-time captains, while quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Jason McCourty also earned captaincy spots. Despite not being named for the upcoming season, Guy and Bentley remain key members of the Patriots roster. Newton and [Jason] McCourty are no longer with the team.
Conspicuous by its absence on the list of 2021 team captains is representation at the quarterback position. Typically, the group of team captains has included the starting quarterback. However it should be noted that the Patriots have never elected a rookie captain under head coach Bill Belichick. Both Devin McCourty and Jerod Mayo were named as such in each of their second seasons, respectively.
Ultimately, being named a team captain is a true honor for any player selected. Captains are chosen by their teammates, indicating the level of respect and admiration they have throughout the locker room. Earlier on Wednesday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick provided his thoughts on the significance of being selected as a captain, while also praising the efforts of many others that exude leadership capabilities.
“Those are people that the players respect and the ones they want to represent them,” Belichick said. “That is really more of a question for the players. We have been fortunate to have great leaders here in the past…But it goes beyond the captains, leadership is throughout the team.”
The Patriots will open the 2021 regular season on Sunday, September 12 at 4:25pm ET, as they face off against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.