MIAMI — For the first time in four years, the New England Patriots aren’t playing in the Super Bowl.
But that didn’t stop the 6-time NFL champions from leaving Miami with some hardware.
The NFL Honors award show on Saturday, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was named the league’s AP Defensive Player of the Year. The 29-year-old Gilmore is the first defensive back to win the award since 2010 and first cornerback to do so since Charles Woodson in 2009.
In what marked his third season in New England, Gilmore NFL highs in both pass defenses (20) and interceptions (6) in 2019. Routinely covering opponents’ top wide receivers, the 3-time Pro Bowl selection helped anchor a Patriots defense that ranked first in yards allowed, first in points allowed and second in passing defense this past season.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt were the two other finalists for the award.
The NFL Honors award show will air at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore walks on the field after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)