FOXBORO, Mass. — After sitting out three games and four total weeks with a concussion, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore finally is ready to retake the field Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Gilmore, soft-spoken as always, confirmed with an “mm hmm” that he’ll return in Week 10. Gilmore practiced prior to Week 8 but was listed as limited on the injury report with a concussion/ankle injury. He wound up being a game-day inactive due to the injuries.
Gilmore was asked if he was surprised the concussion kept him out for four weeks, since it initially took him nine days to be diagnosed with the head injury. The cornerback said he has been instructed not to talk about his injuries.
“We’ve got great doctors,” Gilmore said. “I just listen to them. I tell them how I feel and go from there.”
Gilmore suffered the concussion in his best game of the season — Week 5 in the Patriots’ win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was keyed in on Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans and helped limit him to five catches on eight targets for 49 yards. That game against the Buccaneers helped jumpstart the Patriots’ defense, who are allowing just 12.8 points per game over their last five weeks. The Patriots were letting up 32 points per game in the first four games of the season.
“I feel like I got better and better every game, just like everybody in the league,” Gilmore said. “I felt comfortable with that game. Just getting better and better. Just going to prepare like I was doing. I feel good, so take it day by day and work on my craft and work on everything I have to work on to play great.”
Gilmore, who signed a five-year, $65 million contract over the offseason, likely will regain his starting role in the defense, but cornerback Johnson Bademosi has been an admirable fill-in for Gilmore since Week 6. Gilmore has been paying close attention to how the defense has fared without him.
“I’ve still been locked in and studying, staying studying, going over the game plan like I’m playing, so it was good,” Gilmore said. “I was able to see how the guys played and go from there.”
The Patriots could keep Gilmore on a short leash Sunday against the Broncos. He struggled in his first four weeks in a Patriots uniform before pulling it together against the Buccaneers. Gilmore actually was benched in Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers but had to be reinserted into the game a play later after Eric Rowe aggravated a groin injury.
Thumbnail photo viaÂ Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images