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Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore named Defensive Player of the Year by football writers

Stephon Gilmore finished the year with six interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns.
Stephon Gilmore finished the year with six interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was named the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America, it was announced Wednesday.

Gilmore tied for the league lead with six interceptions and topped the NFL with 20 passes defensed. He started all 16 games, and had a pair of touchdowns — a 54-yarder against Miami and a 64-yard return against Cincinnati.

The 29-year-old Gilmore is the first Patriot to win the award.

“He works hard,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said earlier this month. “He always tries to do what’s best for the team. I think everybody has total respect for his commitment to the football team, his effort and his dependability. Put me at the top of that list.”

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Gilmore is the third cornerback to be honored with the award, joining Deion Sanders (1994) and Charles Woodson (2009.

In past years, the honor from the PFWA is usually preceded by the AP Defensive Player of the Year award — seven of the last 10 years, the same player has won the honor.

Follow Christopher Price @cpriceglobe