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Antoine Winfield Jr. named AP First Team All-Pro

Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was one of the best safeties in the league, and now, he’s been officially recognized.

The Associated Press released their list of All-Pros on Friday, and the award is generally considered the most prestigious one can earn outside of individual awards such as MVP and the Player of the Year awards. Winfield Jr. was named as one of the two best safeties in the NFL with a First Team nod, next to the Baltimore Ravens’ Kyle Hamilton.

Winfield Jr. was not only one of the best safeties in the league, but one of the best defensive players in the league period. He finished his year with 76 solo tackles, six forced fumbles, three interceptions and six sacks. Winfield Jr. has been a chess piece on defense all year, and he has quite literally saved numerous games perhaps on his own — two of those forced fumbles were punched out of the end zone for touchbacks from players that would have netted six points.

Winfield Jr. is the ninth defensive player and second safety to be named First Team All-Pro in franchise history, the first being Bucs safety and current 49ers general manager John Lynch (who won it twice). The accolade comes during a contract year, so it stands to reason that he should get a pretty big payday this offseason in free agency.

He’ll have ample opportunity to continue a stellar campaign on Monday when the Bucs play the Eagles in the Wild Card Round at 8 p.m.

Story originally appeared on Buccaneers Wire