Former NFL linebacker James Harrison recently gave Stephon Gilmore an endorsement for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
Many casual NFL fans might forget that legendary professional linebacker James Harrison briefly suited up for the New England Patriots before retiring in April of 2018.
He only played in four games for the Pats, but they were all significant appearances. He joined the team for the last game of the regular season against the New York Jets and promptly had five tackles, two sacks, and two quarterback hits for his new team… much to the chagrin of Pittsburgh Steelers fans everywhere, presumably.
Harrison then played in all three of New England’s postseason games that winter – in the Divisional round against the Tennessee Titans, the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Super Bowl 52 against the Philadelphia Eagles. While he didn’t rack up any more sacks in the playoffs, he did tally eight more tackles and three more QB hits before all was said and done – including two against that Super Bowl’s MVP winner, Nick Foles.
Needless to say, Harrison knows a thing or two about the NFL… and what it takes to be successful as a professional football player. He played 15 years in the league, won two Super Bowls, and was named to the Pro Bowl five times.
He also won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008.
Now, nearly 11 years later, he joined Fox Sports’ “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” to offer up his professional opinion on who he thinks should win the prestigious award in 2019. His vote?
Stephon Gilmore – “no question.”
Here’s what Harrison said, per USA Today’s Henry McKenna:
"“I have to give it to Gilmore. He is shutting down whole players, whole sides of fields. No question. He’s taking players that are No. 1 receivers and just totally shutting them down. When you have a guy that can cover a receiver like that, that gives you that extra time you need to get to the quarterback, that gives you that extra time you need to whatever it do on the front seven. … With his play and the numbers he’s putting up as far as interceptions… people aren’t even throwing his way. C’mon.”"
Harrison speaks the truth. Gilmore has essentially blanked a number of top receivers in the league this season, including JuJu Smith-Schuster, Odell Beckham Jr., and DeAndre Hopkins, among others. He’s also tied for the league lead in interceptions this year, and has been the best player all season on the NFL’s best defense.
Give him that hardware already.