New England Nation on WPRI 12 & WPRI.com

3 Patriots selected to join AFC Pro Bowl squad

Patriots: New England Nation

New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower speaks with reporters in the team’s locker room following an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Three members of the New England Patriots have been selected to be part of the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and special teams captain Matthew Slater have been selected to represent the Patriots in the Pro Bowl.

The selection is Gilmore’s third, Hightower’s second and Slater’s eighth — which is the most for a special teams player in NFL history.

This is the first year since 2008 Tom Brady, who is tied for the record with 14 Pro Bowl selections, was not chosen. Wide receiver and Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman was also not selected.

“I don’t think that changes anything about Tom Brady, not making the Pro Bowl,” Hightower said. “It doesn’t change anything about him or anything about his legacy — his work ethic or anything. If anything, it might drive him a little bit more.”

“He’s the best football player that’s ever played,” Slater added. “I think that’s all you need to know.”

While the three players are appreciative of the Pro Bowl accolades, they all agreed they have different goals in mind — all starting with Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

“I’ve always had the mindset that what’s happening amongst the team and in this locker room and our team goals always trumps what you do as an individual,” Gilmore said.

“Pro Bowl is not important to me, I appreciate it, I definitely do, I can’t say that enough — but I definitely have some bigger goals,” Hightower added.

This will be the second time the Patriots play the Bills this season after beating them back in late September, 16-10.

Edelman, whose injuries continue to pile up, did not appear to be up to full speed at Wednesday’s practice.

“This guy is going out there, he puts his team first every week,” Slater said. “Obviously he hasnt been 100% every week but he’s found a way will himself, not only to be at games but at practice as well. As teammates, we really appreciate that.”

Cornerback Jon Jones — who is one of the top slot corners in the NFL — didn’t practice for the second straight day.

The Bills also have one of the best slot receivers in the league, Cole Beasley, which could be significant if Jones does not take the field on Saturday.

Linebacker Jamie Collins has also been added to the injury report with a shoulder injury.

The two playoff teams and division opponents will go head-to-head with the AFC East title still up for grabs. Since 2001, the Bills have been 2-16 in Foxboro.

Eyewitness Sports has you covered on Saturday when the Patriots take on the Bills at Gillette:

  • New England Nation is airing at a special time, 1 p.m. on WPRI 12.
  • New England Nation game day live will be streaming on WPRI.com and the WPRI 12 App at 3 p.m.
  • Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. on NFL Network.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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