Stephon Gilmore made his debut with the Carolina Panthers Sunday, helping his team clinch a 19-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons with an interception late in the fourth quarter. Gilmore joined Carolina’s roster in early October after he was traded by the New England Patriots for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
This week, Gilmore faces off against his former team of four years when the Panthers host the Patriots. When asked if this week’s game will mean ‘a little extra’ after the two-time All-Pro and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year was traded for a sixth-round pick, Gilmore was short in his response.
"A lot extra," Gilmore said, via the Panthers’ team website.
The Patriots were initially expected to cut Gilmore, but rather than risk him going somewhere else, Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer pulled the trigger on a trade. According to Gilmore, he probably would have found his way there regardless.
“I think so, '' Gilmore replied when asked if he would have signed with the Panthers even if he became a free agent. “This is a place I always wanted to play. Looking at the team and what they’ve got, the potential. Obviously, you have to put in a lot of hard work to get where you want to go. For sure, I think it was a great opportunity for me to come here.”
Bill Belichick addressed the move to originally release Gilmore with a statement through the team's public relations team. Belichick indicated that both sides played a role in the choice to cut ties.
"I am grateful to
Stephon Gilmore for his significant contributions to our team," Belichick said in the statement. "It was a privilege and pleasure to coach Steph, I appreciate him for the true professional and class act that he is and wish him all the best in the future. Following discussions over a long period of time, we mutually agreed to part ways today."
Gilmore was a first-round pick in 2012 by the Buffalo Bills after three years spent at South Carolina, his home state school. After five seasons spent in Buffalo, he moved on to the New England Patriots, where he has been one of the top defensive backs in the NFL. With the Patriots Gilmore has played in two Super Bowls (won one), made two All-Pro teams, and won NFL Defensive Player of the Year. While playing in upstate New York, Gilmore went to his first of three career pro bowls in 2016. Gilmore is entering the final year of a 5-year, $65 million contract.
In 11 games played this past NFL season, Gilmore had 37 total tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, three passes defended and one fumble recovery. He missed three games, weeks 8-10, due to a knee injury and then the final two games of the season due to a partially torn quad that put him on the injured reserve.
An All-American and All-SEC selection, Gilmore played in 40 games over three years with the Gamecocks. Gilmore registered 181 career tackles, 15 for a loss, with seven sacks, eight interceptions and one touchdown scored. He was also used as a punt returner all three years and made appearances on offense as a passer and a ball carrier. Gilmore, from Rock Hill, S.C. (South Pointe), ranks as the No. 7 overall recruit and top defensive back recruit in Gamecocks history, according to the 247Sports database.
Source : https://247sports.com/Article/Carolina-Panthers-CB-Stephon-Gilmore-set-for-matchup-against-former-team-New-England-Patriots--174346137/706