By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — Should you thought that the soft-spoken Stephon Gilmore would enter coaching camp a modified man after successful Defensive Participant of the 12 months and being named the very best cornerback within the NFL by his friends, effectively, you’d be exhibiting that you just don’t know Stephon Gilmore all that effectively.
Outdoors of an occasional transient second to ship a self-congratulatory tweet, Gilmore’s carried himself with a quiet confidence and a no-nonsense demeanor on and off the sector since signing for giant cash in 2017. Within the three years since, he’s ascended to the very prime of the league at his place.
Gilmore met with the media by way of video convention on Monday, after the Patriots’ first full-team, full-contact follow of coaching camp. He’s by no means fairly been just like the boastful greatest corners within the sport who’ve come earlier than him, and the mild-mannered, easy 29-year-old from South Carolina didn’t sound like he’s spent an excessive amount of time soaking within the glow of all of the acclaim.
“I simply attempt to be the identical man and participant that I’m,” Gilmore stated when requested if he needed to put in any additional effort to maintain his focus after receiving near-universal reward over the previous eight months. “I simply put in work each day. And I do know what it took for me final 12 months to play persistently each sport. There’s nothing I can do however simply put my head down and work arduous and attempt to obtain issues this 12 months each day.”
Gilmore turned the primary defensive again to win the Defensive Participant of the 12 months Award since 2010 (Troy Polamalu), and the primary cornerback to win the award since 2009 (Charles Woodson). Because the mid-’90s, no different cornerback has gained the award.
Gilmore additionally earned his second straight spot on the All-Professional First Group, as a Professional Bowler for the second straight 12 months, and he ranked at No. 9 on the annual “NFL Prime 100” checklist, which is voted on by NFL gamers. Gilmore was the second-highest ranked defensive participant, behind solely Aaron Donald.
Regardless of experiencing The Offseason Of Gilmore, the cornerback stated he’s nonetheless dedicated to bettering the old style approach — by means of arduous work.
“Like I stated, I simply take it day-to-day. It’s not straightforward,” Gilmore stated. “It’s important to work for no matter you earn on this league. No matter accolades you win, you must work for. So I do know it’s not going to be straightforward. I’ve to place the work in each day and compete towards my teammates and get higher. Hopefully that carries over to the sport, however it takes at some point at a time, and that’s how I strategy it.”
When pressed on whether or not or not he believes he has one other degree he can attain in 2020, Gilmore issued a response that appeared like carbon copies of his earlier solutions.
“I’ve to earn it. No matter my targets are, no matter I wish to obtain, I’ve to earn it,” Gilmore stated. “It’s not straightforward. Training arduous, engaged on my method and making performs with my teammates. It takes day-to-day preparation and day-to-day execution. So, simply wanting ahead to coaching camp and searching ahead to the season and seeing the way it goes.”
With Gilmore, these are typically the solutions you get. You don’t get proclamations about being the best, or contract complaints, or basic trash speak directed to any opponents. It’s not fairly the identical expertise as, say, Richard Sherman’s or Darrelle Revis’ or Deion Sanders’ reigns as the very best cornerback on this planet.
That sort of mentality must serve him effectively after an prolonged interval the place it could be straightforward to get a bit dizzy studying his press clippings.
Nonetheless, Gilmore is aware of that he’s the very best nook within the sport, and he asserted as a lot throughout that NFL Community present. When requested to call the No. 1 participant in the whole league, Gilmore matter-of-factly responded, “Umm, I might decide myself.”
It’s that uncommon mix of unwavering confidence with a relentless deal with enchancment. It’s served him effectively on his ascent, and the Patriots are probably moderately happy that he doesn’t look like altering a factor for 2020.