The list of New England Patriots players feeling highly motivated entering the 2020 NFL season is a long one, and you include cornerback Stephon Gilmore on it.
Gilmore is coming off his best season as a pro. He tied for the league lead in interceptions, led all players with 20 passes defensed and dominated in pass coverage. His superior performance earned him the 2019 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award -- the first Patriot ever to win it -- as well as All-Pro first team and Pro Bowl honors.
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One of the league's new offseason traditions that began in 2011 is a Top 100 Players ranking voted on by the players themselves. The Patriots usually have several players on this list, but given all of the roster turnover in New England the last two years, Gilmore was the only one to make the ranking in 2020. His fellow peers voted him the ninth-best player in the league.
Gilmore reacted to this achievement Thursday in an Instagram post, where the star cornerback noted he's "feeling more motivated than ever ..."
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The best thing about the grind is that it don’t stop! I appreciate the love from my peers & the ones out there going against me week in and week out. It hits different when you’re all after the same goals! Feeling Thankful. Feeling Blessed. Feeling more motivated than ever...🙏🏾‼️
It wouldn't be surprising if Gilmore was even better in 2020. He's the league's top cornerback and still in the prime of his career, and he also plays in a loaded secondary alongside other top defensive backs such as Devin McCourty and J.C. Jackson.
The Patriots defense has lost several key players this offseason in free agency, the trade market and season opt outs. But luckily for New England, its most valuable and most talented defensive player in Gilmore remains on the roster.