Gilmore looking forward to teaming up with Butler: 'It'll be fun'

Gilmore looking forward to teaming up with Butler: 'It'll be fun'

FOXBORO -- Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler haven't yet played a snap together, but they're already widely considered to be among the best cornerback duos in football.

Broncos cover men Aqib Talib and Chris Harris probably deserve top billing for now since they have an established track record in the same secondary. But expectations for Gilmore and Butler -- who will team up with safeties Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon -- are already sky high outside the walls of Gillette Stadium. 

"There's only pressure if you make it," Gilmore said on Thursday. "You just go out and work hard, and do your job, and rely on each other, trust each other. If we do that, I think we'll be good."

There was no guarantee that Gilmore and Butler would be teaming up as of a few weeks ago. Speculation was rampant that Butler, who signed his restricted free agent tender for $3.91 million, could be traded for draft picks late last month. He wasn't. And, at least for now, the plan is for him to factor into the Patriots defensive backfield significantly once again in 2017. 

"It'll be fun," Gilmore said. "I know he's a talented player . . . He just competes. No matter what. He competes to the end of the play. All the guys do in the secondary so that's one thing that sticks out to me."

Gilmore acknowledged that at this time of year, time spent at the Patriots facilities is about getting into shape more than it is solving the Patriots playbook and learning how to communicate in the secondary. When those nuances become the focus, though, Gilmore knows he'll have plenty of help from the experienced players around him. 

"Veteran guys that have been around, played a long time," he said. "We've got those type of guys back there that allow you to come in and ask questions. [You] try to do the best you can to communicate with them and make plays."

With Gilmore in the fold, the Patriots secondary has a chance to be among the best Bill Belichick has ever coached. Gilmore has the frame and the athleticism to matchup with bigger receivers on the outside (guys like Atlanta's Julio Jones, Tampa Bay's Mike Evans, Carolina's Kelvin Benjamin and New Orleans' Michael Thomas -- all of whom the Patriots are scheduled to see this season), while Butler has the speed and quickness to hang with smaller burners (guys like Atlanta's Taylor Gabriel, Tampa Bay's DeSean Jackson, Carolina rookie Curtis Samuel and New Orleans' Willie Snead or Ted Ginn).

With McCourty keeping things organized, Chung matching tight ends, and Harmon covering ground on the back end, it's a unit that could rival the effectiveness of talent-laden Patriots secondaries like the ones that won Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004.

But before those comparisons can hold any water, there's plenty of work to be done for the group and its most recent high-profile addition. 

"The guys welcomed me," Gilmore said. "Great teammates. The secondary welcomed me in, and they said if I have any questions, ask them. [I'll] hit the ground running and do whatever I can do help the team."

Duron Harmon issues apology after his arrest

File Photo

Duron Harmon issues apology after his arrest

According to The Costa Rica Star, airport police at Juan Santamaria International Airport found two ounces of marijuana inside an iced-tea can alongside several different types of THC based paraphernalia within Duron Harmon's suitcase.

Tonight he issued an apology to the Kraft family, Patriots, and his own family.

A post shared by Duron Harmon (@dharm30) on

Harmon traveled into the country from Fort Lauderdale and was sent back after being briefly detained.

The Patriots organization acknowledged the arrest, “We are aware of the situation involving Duron Harmon Friday night in Costa Rica,” a Patriots spokesman said in a statement to multiple media outlets. “He has since returned to the U.S., and we are seeking to gain more information. At this time, we have no further update.”


Shaq carries Gronk at Miami dance-off

File photo

Shaq carries Gronk at Miami dance-off

Remember when Brandin Cooks rode Rob Gronkowski around like a horse to celebrate a Patriots touchdown back in November?

Well, Gronk doing Gronk things in Miami managed to find about the only person he could ride. 

Shaquille O'Neal, at 7-foot-1, gave 6-7 Gronk a ride on his shoulders as they celebrated the debut of "Shaq's Fun House" as part of the three-day Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

So, who won the dance-off?

Shaq vs @gronk dance battle you tell me who won

A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on