Patriots

Why Stephon Gilmore feels the Patriots mishandled his quad injury

"I felt like they were doing more workouts than rehab."

Stephon Gilmore injury
Carolina Panthers cornerback Stephon Gilmore walks off the field after an NFL football game against the New England Patriots. AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

If you ask Stephon Gilmore, the Patriots didn’t handle his return from a quad injury as if he were actually injured.

As Gilmore rehabbed before the season began, it became clear he and the Patriots fundamentally disagreed on something. According to Gilmore, who spoke to The Athletic for a story published on Sunday, the major sticking point was the process.

“When you return to play, you want to rehab back to return to play,” Gilmore told The Athletic‘s Joseph Person. “But I felt like they were doing more workouts than rehab, more working out like someone [who] was 100 percent healthy and in the offseason program. But I was rehabbing, coming back from surgery. So that’s different. I think you should take steps to come back and play.

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“It was just making me do all types of running and lifting way more than I was supposed to.”

When he was traded, Gilmore said his $7 million salary played a role in his discontent, but “a lot goes into it.”

“[The Patriots] treat it like a business,” Gilmore said at the time. “And we made the best decision for each other.”

Gilmore told The Athletic he was on track to return as expected from the injury, but the Patriots started pushing him in ways he felt were unhealthy for his leg when he returned to camp. At one point right before the trade, Gilmore said the Patriots had him run 3,000 yards in three days — “a real workout.”

“It’s like, why would you do all that right before you trade me?” Gilmore said. “You don’t do that. Let me do it my way. I don’t know if they were trying to test [the leg] and see, I don’t know. I’m not the type of guy that says, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do that.’ I work hard. I do my stuff. I just think that wasn’t right.”

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The Patriots received a 2023 sixth-round pick for their former Pro Bowl cornerback. The Panthers are 5-7, second behind the 9-3 Buccaneers in the NFC South.

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