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The praise is flowing for Devin McCourty as he prepares for 200th game with Patriots

Devin McCourty gearing up for 200th game with Patriots
Devin McCourty gearing up for 200th game with Patriots 01:31

FOXBORO -- Individual milestones aren't usually celebrated inside Gillette Stadium. But Devin McCourty is a pretty special player to the New England Patriots.

The veteran safety is set to play in his 200th regular season game on Thursday night when the Patriots host the Buffalo Bills. He's started every game that he's played for New England, and that won't change come kickoff Thursday night.

McCourty will become just the sixth player in Patriots franchise history to hit the 200-game mark for the team. On Monday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and special teams captain Matthew Slater -- who has played in 217 games for the Patriots, the second-most behind only Tom Brady's 285 -- crashed McCourty's press conference to present him with a special gift: A large mosaic made up of 200 smaller photos from throughout McCourty's career.

"We don't usually give personal lauding to anyone, but special achievements made by special people deserve special recognition," said Kraft.

The picture, and the video tribute that followed, caught the 35-year-old McCourty off guard. But he was grateful for the gesture.

"It's been a heck of a journey and I'm just enjoying it," said McCourty. "What would be cool for a 200th game is a win. That will be the focus."

On Tuesday, it was Bill Belichick's turn to heap praise on McCourty, who has won three Super Bowls in New England and is a member of the franchise's All-Dynasty Team. Belichick lauded his 11-time team captain for his availability, as McCourty has played in every game -- 120 straight -- since the end of the 2015 season. He rarely misses plays, let alone games, playing new fewer than 94 percent of New England's defensive snaps throughout his career.

"It's pretty good," Belichick said of McCourty's iron-man streak. "I don't know exactly how many other players can say that. But he trains hard, works very hard. It's not by accident.

"He's in top condition all the time and he takes care of himself," Belichick continued. "Plays with good fundamentals, which is another way to stay healthy. He plays with good, solid fundamentals as a tackler and taking on blockers, which is another good way to preserve on those hits if you do it the right way. Use your leverage, use your strength. He does that."

Pretty much everything that Belichick looks for in a player can be said about Devin McCourty.

"His communication, his leadership, his work ethic, his training on and off the field -- we're very fortunate to have him and have had him," said Belichick. "He's been a great asset to this organization."

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