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Stephon Gilmore becomes Patriots’ first AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year

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The AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year honor began in 1971.

New York Giants v New England Patriots Photo by Timothy Bouwer/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The 2019 Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year goes to cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Gilmore is the first New England Patriots player to take the AP honor since it began in 1971, and the first defensive back to do so since Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Troy Polamalu in 2010.

Saturday’s announcement at the NFL Honors in Miami comes on the heels of a season in which the 29-year-old tied for the league lead with a career-high six interceptions. Gilmore scored one more touchdown than he allowed, ranked first with 20 passes defensed, and held opposing quarterbacks under a completion rate of 50 percent.

Gilmore started all 16 games in the New England secondary, logging 53 tackles to go with one fumble recovery before receiving 21 of the 50 AP votes.

The former Buffalo Bill collected his third Pro Bowl and unanimous AP first-team All-Pro recognition in the process. And in January, the Pro Football Writers of America had named Gilmore, a back-to-back member of the All-NFL and All-AFC teams, its Defensive Player of the Year.