FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — When Jason McCourty was a rookie, he had a handful of veteran players he relied on.

If he had a question about the Tennessee Titans’ game plan, he went to someone like Courtland Finnegan, Roderick Hood or Chris Hope. If he had a question about finance, he always went to that group. If he was having girl problems, McCourty also went to the veterans around him.

This season, his first in New England, McCourty has proven his worth on the field. Just last weekend, he played a big part in limiting Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen in the Patriots win over Minnesota. Behind the scenes, however, this 10-year veteran is paying it forward.

McCourty, 31, has turned into one of the Patriots biggest leaders off the field for rookie cornerbacks J.C. Jackson, Duke Dawson and Keion Crossen.

“It was done for me,” McCourty said. “Whether it had to do with the game plan, whatever it was, life as becoming an NFL player, they were there to help me. So I try to always pass on the knowledge I learned over the past nine years to whoever’s around me.”

Like Finnegan, Hood and Hope were for him, McCourty has opened himself up to the younger cornerbacks on any subject whether it is football related or personal in nature. For Keion Crossen, the advice has been in valuable. Growing up in the small town of Garysburg, N.C., Crossen also went to a small school, Western Carolina. The transition to the NFL has been eye opening and life changing.

For the Patriots seventh-round pick, McCourty is available at all hours and has helped him greatly.

“Just from starting in camp, coming in, not knowing a thing about the NFL, he kind of helped me transition a whole lot,” Crossen said. “If you have a question, I don’t care if it’s 2 o’clock at night, I’ll text him a question and I’ll have an answer. He’ll help you with your studies. ‘hey, how are you studying film?’

“Even just about life, man. He’s an all-around man. He helps you on the field, off the field. Gives you rides. I’m sure he’s got a room in his house for you, if you need it. Great role model. Great guy. Great teammate.”

Crossen has played limitedly on defense, but has been a core special teamer this season. Patriots second-round pick, Dawson, is still waiting to make his debut. Jackson, however, is coming off his first career start in the Patriots win over Minnesota.

For Jackson, McCourty helps him with his studies and come game day. When the rookie is on the field, he has a veteran in his ear telling him what to do on every play.

“He’s got experience, so he just helps me,” Jackson said. “He’ll tell me where to get lined up. I’ll ask him, ‘what should I do on this play’ and he’ll give me his best advice. In meeting rooms, I’ll ask him a few questions and he’ll answer it right away. He’s like a big brother, mentor, a coach. He’s all that.”

Quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski were removed from the team’s injury report Thursday after being limited a day earlier.

That left two players on the latest report: tight end Dwayne Allen and safety Patrick Chung. Brady was listed with the same knee injury that dates back to Nov. 11, while Gronkowski was listed with the back and ankle woes that have troubled him most of the year.

REUBEN FOSTER’S ex-girlfriend said he slapped her and pushed her during an incident in Tampa, Florida, that led to his arrest for domestic violence.

Elissa Ennis said Foster abused her three times, most recently last month in Tampa. Foster, 24, was charged with one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence.

The 49ers released Foster after the incident, and Washington claimed the second-year linebacker off waivers. Foster was put on the NFL’s Commissioner Exempt list, which means he cannot play or practice.

Ennis said when Washington signed Foster she was shocked and thought, “I can’t believe somebody picked him up” so soon.

WASHINGTON: The team has asked for privacy for Alex Smith and his family amid reports the quarterback is dealing with complications from surgery to repair a broken leg.

According to, Smith is battling an infection related to the surgery. Smith’s injury that occurred Nov. 18 against the Houston Texans.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville left tackle Josh Walker is out against Tennessee with an injured foot and ankle sidelining him for the fourth straight game.

TITANS 30, JAGUARS 9: Derrick Henry rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries – including an NFL-record-tying 99-yard TD – as Tennessee rolled over visiting Jacksonville on Thursday.

Henry scored on a 3-yard rush in the first quarter before busting a 99-yarder with 7:25 left in the second. He stiff-armed a couple defenders, and coupled with some shaky tackling by Jacksonville defenders was able to join Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett as the only players in NFL history with a 99-yard touchdown run.

Henry scored twice in the third quarter on runs of 16 and 54 yards.

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