BOSTON (CBS) — Malcolm Butler and Dont’a Hightower have earned their rightful place on the NFL Network’s annual Top 100 Players list, which is voted upon by the players themselves. The cornerback and linebacker were revealed at spots No. 99 and 94, respectively, on the network’s 2017 list in a special on Monday night that revealed the first ten names.

The 2016 edition of the annual “Top 100 Players” list felt like it had snubbed Butler and/or Hightower after strong seasons, as the two were left off the list. Tom Brady, of course, did make the 2016 list at No. 2, as did Rob Gronkowski (No. 9) and Julian Edelman (No. 87).

Butler and Hightower both earned second team All-Pro honors in the 2016 season and the Patriots won another Super Bowl, so clearly they finally did enough to earn the network’s Top-100 distinction.

Butler and Hightower both tweeted messages of appreciation soon after their names were revealed on the list.

Brady, Gronkowski, and Edelman will surely be on the list once again in 2017. The only question is whether Brady, the Super Bowl 51 MVP, will overtake the No. 1 spot. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton earned that honor last year.


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