Stephon Gilmore opens up about process that brought him back home, Carolina Panthers memories
From the time his plane his landed around noon on Thursday, Stephon Gilmore was engulfed in the process of becoming a Carolina Panther. A trade with his former team the New England Patriot sent Gilmore to the queen city in exchange for a future sixth-round pick. The deal showed the team's willingness to make deals that could help them win right away but it also showcased the savvy skills of general manager Scott Fitterer who happens to live just a few doors down from Gilmore.
During the early evening press conference Gilmore spoke about the whirlwind process that brought him here as well as his excitement about joining the team. "It's been a crazy twenty-four hours but it's over now and I'm looking forward to the future," Gilmore said.
"Looking forward to learning in the meeting room and learning the scheme, learning the calls because it starts in the meeting room."
At the time of the press conference Gilmore admits he had not met with head coach Matt Rhule yet and that there were a laundry list of things he needed to do to start the acclimation process which included what he could do to start to gel with new teammates while he waits to become eligible for his first game as a Panther. "I'm just trying to come in and talk to everyone and learn as much as I can and lead by example and once I get on the field earn my teammates respect and go from there."
The 2019 NFL defensive player of the year brings a wealth of experience to the locker room that will be a bonus for the young core of players that the Panthers hope to build on for the future. Jaycee Horn is sidelined for now but Gilmore maintains communication with Horn - a good sign of how his presence will help shape up and coming players.
In addition to the football memories that Gilmore has been creating in the region since he was six years old, the other great part of him being a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina, is that he won't have to go through the process of learning a new city and culture which will give more time to get to know the playbook. He's got a built in fan base with a bulk of his family residing nearby including his father who is a current Panthers season ticket holder. "It's a lot of memories here," Gilmore said.
"I grew up watching the Panthers play and I was always a Panthers fan."
Gilmore is expected to see his first action as a Panther when the team travels to New York to face the Giants later this month.