Ryan beats Brady for All-Pro honor; Slater gets First-Team nod

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Ryan beats Brady for All-Pro honor; Slater gets First-Team nod

Matthew Slater is having himself a nice little week. 

He was honored as the league's Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award winner back on Monday, something that caused Slater's "seasonal allergies" to act up on him during a Patriots Bible study session. Then on Friday it was announced that Slater had earned a First-Team All-Pro nod for his performance throughout the 2016 season. 

It's the first time in Slater's nine-year career that he's been named an All-Pro. The six-time special-teams captain has also been selected to the Pro Bowl six times, including this year. 

Slater is still one of the best in the league when it comes to covering kicks, serving as a gunner on the punt team where he regularly sees multiple blockers as he engages in what he has called "hand-to-hand combat."

There are others in the league who have posted better special-teams numbers than Slater this year -- including Slater's teammate Nate Ebner, who led the league in special-teams tackles -- but he is consistently praised by others in the Patriots locker room for his kicking-game IQ and his ability to draw attention of opposing teams' return units.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan edged Tom Brady for First-Team honors after throwing for 38 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a passer rating of 117.1. Brady finished the year with the best touchdown-to-interception ratio of all time (28-to-2) and a rating of 112.2, but he missed the first four games of the season to serve his Deflategate suspension.

Brady headlined the Second-Team All-Pro offense that also featured Patriots right tackle Marcus Cannon. 

The Patriots defense, which ranked first in the league in points allowed, was well represented on the Second Team. Linebacker Dont'a Hightower, corner Malcolm Butler and safety Devin McCourty were all listed as Second Team honorees.

Ebner, who missed the majority of training camp in order to compete for the U.S Men's Rugby team in the Rio Olympics, also landed on the Second Team for his efforts on special teams.

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