The votes of fans, players and coaches have sent a trio of New England Patriots to the 2020 Pro Bowl.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and special-teamer Matthew Slater are New England’s representatives, the NFL announced Tuesday night.
It marks the second Pro Bowl nod for Hightower. The green dot of communication has registered 60 tackles, four sacks, three passes defensed and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown through 13 starts this campaign. Hightower, 29, had last been recognized during New England’s 2016 season, when the Alabama product also garnered second-team All-Pro recognition.
For Gilmore, 29, this season marks his third Pro Bowl and second in a row for the Patriots’ secondary. Gilmore has yet to concede a touchdown, and has turned two of his career-high six interceptions into touchdowns. The reigning first-team All-Pro cornerback’s coverage has held opposing quarterbacks below a completion rate of 50 percent. Gilmore’s 832 snaps lead the Patriots’ defense.
And Slater, 34, rounds out the group in the kicking game. A team captain since 2011, the decorated gunner now stands with his eighth Pro Bowl honor to go with his five All-Pro honors. The former UCLA wide receiver, defensive back and return specialist has forced one fumble, recovered another, blocked a punt and scored his first NFL touchdown thus far into the 2019 calendar. And in November, Slater found himself the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the first time.
Hightower is accompanied by the Indianapolis Colts’ Darius Leonard on the AFC’s side of the Pro Bowl depth chart at inside linebacker. At cornerback, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters of the Baltimore Ravens, as well as Tre’Davious White of the Buffalo Bills, join Gilmore. And on special teams, the Tennessee Titans’ Brett Kern, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Mecole Hardman and Baltimore’s Justin Tucker and Morgan Cox check in alongside Slater.
The 2020 Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium is set for a 3 p.m. ET kickoff on Sunday, Jan. 26.
Time will tell whether the 11-3 Patriots have February commitments.