]()Starting in all five of the Patriots December games at defensive end, Ty Warren recorded 43 tackles in those games, including 4.0 sacks for a loss of 21 total yards and five other tackles for a loss.
As a result, the NFL named him the AFC Defensive Player of the Month. The news, which Warren received in the locker room on Thursday, took the fourth-year veteran by surprise.
"I guess… I think… I mean I think it's a tremendous honor for me," he stammered after reporters broke the news to him. "And I'm happy that whoever votes on that voted for me. That's a good thing."
Then, as he does every week on the field, Warren composed himself.
"It did [catch me by surprise]," he admitted, smiling from ear to ear. "You wouldn't think a guy like myself, kind of like a hermit in the league, would be honored like that. But it's definitely an honor."
Warren finished the season ranked second on the team with a career-high 117 tackles (66 solo) and tied for second on the team with a career-high 7.5 sacks. He helped anchor a defense that allowed a franchise low 14.81 points per game, and many believe he deserved selection to the 2007 Pro Bowl. Like many other deserving players around the league, he will not make the trip to Hawaii.
"I said what I said about the Pro Bowl. I think that those honors and stuff like that, they'll come in due time. I'm not really too worried about that. I'm just worried about improving my play and [the accolades] will come in due time," he said on Thursday.
"I was a little injured early on in the season," Warren admitted. He missed the Patriots last meeting with the Jets, snapping a 64-game active streak, but said the recovery time helped. It was the only game he's missed since entering the NFL in 2003. "But I kept fighting through it and I think I got a little more healthier and my play showed that."
"I think it feels good to be honored," the humble 300-pounder said. "I just want to continue to play consistently throughout the playoffs so we can get where we need to go. But it's definitely an honor for whoever picks that to pick me.
"I would say [this is my biggest honor so far]. So I mean it kind of makes you hungrier to do more. Not that I'm not already hungry. I don't think I can get any hungrier. But it definitely makes you hungrier to get more."
Notes:The Patriots held practice on the game field inside Gillette Stadium today, and the only player not seen on the field during the portion of practice available to the media was safety Rodney Harrison, who will not play on Sunday. Running back Corey Dillon was seen wearing a black jersey, indicating that he was last week's Practice Player of the Week.