NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Temperatures approached 90 degrees on the Tennessee Titans’ practice field Wednesday morning, but you’d never know it by looking at Stephon Gilmore.
The New England Patriots’ All-Pro cornerback sported long sleeves under his No. 24 practice jersey during the first of two joint practices with the Titans, just as he does each and every day at Gillette Stadium.
Adding some extra warmth on a November night in New England makes sense. But down south in the summer? That sounds like the recipe for heat stroke.
There’s a method to Gilmore’s madness, though. As he explained Wednesday afternoon, he tries to make himself as uncomfortable as possible during practice to help prepare himself for game day.
“I wear long sleeves to make it harder since it’s so hot out,” Gilmore said. “If I get tired when it’s 95 (degrees), I won’t get tired when we go back to Foxboro and it’s not as hot. I’ll be good. … That’s my mindset. I try to put on as much stuff as I can so I can be tired, so in the game, when I don’t have much stuff on, I’ll be loose and won’t be as hot. It’ll allow me to be in better shape.”
He isn’t alone in this approach. Nearly every Patriots cornerback goes full sleeves on the practice field, even during the steamiest days of training camp. And whatever Gilmore is doing, it’s working. The 28-year-old ranked second in the NFL with 20 pass breakups last season and first among corners on the league’s “Top Players of 2019” list.
Gilmore also has worn sleeves in nearly every game of his Patriots tenure, including last year’s historically hot loss to the Jaguars in Jacksonville and the last two Super Bowls, both of which were played indoors.
“I love long sleeves,” Gilmore said. “I don’t know why. I think I got my first pick in long sleeves, and I never took them off again.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images