Casey Hayward is November’s top defender in the AFC

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Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward is away from the team and dealing with a family tragedy right now, but he was with them for all three of their games in November and his strong play was recognized by the league on Thursday.

Hayward has been named the defensive player of the month in the AFC. He helped the Chargers continue their rebound from an 0-4 start by intercepting three passes over the last two games.

The Chargers won both of those games, moving them to 5-6 on the year and leaving them a game back of the Chiefs in the race for the AFC West title. It’s unclear if Hayward will be back this weekend to help in the quest to catch Kansas City.

His brother was killed in a car accident on Monday night and coach Anthony Lynn said Hayward will be with his family until he feels ready to return to the team.