Most of the players for the New England Patriots were at the White House Wednesay to take a victory lap after their Super Bowl win over the Atlanta Falcons. Earlier this week, McCourty and Chris Long appeared alongside Patriots fans in a video recounting the Super Bowl comeback and explaining their reasons for sitting out today's ceremony.
A Patriots spokesman said that the 2015 photo included Patriots staff members, such as trainers and other personnel.
The Patriots went to the White House Wednesday to meet with President Donald Trump, as all world championship teams do.
While the day was created to be festive, the Patriots were left to deal with the news that former tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in a prison cell hours before the White House visit, according to MA prison officials.
They are the Hernandez death of apparent suicide and the Patriots' visit to the White House. The high-profile player - who is married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen - said he had "personal family matters" to attend to.
At least seven players elected against attending the event, citing political and social causes as the reason they did not join teammates in the customary celebration.
Brady's mother has been battling a health ailment for the last 18 months and was unable to attend any games last season, though she did make the trip to Houston for Super Bowl 51.
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Trump touted his friendship with Brady long before running for office, and he missed few opportunities to invoke the quarterback's name while on the campaign trail.
Trump has come under criticism from environmental activists who say his comments dismissing climate change as a "hoax" are misguided.
"Alright, thanks man, I'll see you in a minute", the White House official adds, before telling reporters, "That was cool".
Trump has personal ties to the Patriots, as various media outlets have reported.
It's generally a pretty jovial, celebratory affair - that is, until this year.
"Every time we've had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don't go", Kraft told the "Today" show. It is a special honoring for the Patriots team, and a reminder of what they accomplished.
Matt Ferner contributed reporting.