By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots will have three representatives at the 2019 NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla., as cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, and special teams ace Matthew Slater were all named to the roster revealed on Tuesday night.
Gilmore’s second consecutive Pro Bowl honor comes in the midst of a career year that’s put No. 24 in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation thanks to a league-high six interceptions (two of which have been returned for scores) along with 18 passes defended. This is the third Pro Bowl honor of Gilmore’s eight-season NFL career.
Hightower, meanwhile, will make his second Pro Bowl appearance thanks to a 2019 year that’s included 61 tackles, four sacks, and one scoop-and-score fumble recovery in 13 games. This will be Hightower’s first Pro Bowl since 2016.
And Pro Bowls have become a formality of sorts for Slater, who was named to the Pro Bowl squad for the eighth time in his career on Tuesday, and now officially has the most Pro Bowl honors for any special teamer in league history, beating Steve Tasker’s old mark of seven (1987 and then from 1990 through 1995). Slater has been the rock of an absolutely dynamite special teams group in New England, too, and has a team-leading 10 tackles on special teams this season.
Among the surprise misses for the Patriots? Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, punter Jake Bailey (a multi-time Special Teams Player of the Week this season), and even wideout Julian Edelman, who has piled up catches and yards at a career-best rate this season.
The 2019 NFL Pro Bowl will be played on Sun., Jan. 26, 2020 at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.