Stephon Gilmore didn't need to take the field with Mac Jones to leave a lasting impression on the New England Patriots' rookie quarterback.
Before being traded to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday, Gilmore did his part to help Jones get accustomed to life in the NFL. While addressing the deal, Jones explained how the star cornerback made a positive impact during their brief time together in Foxboro.
"Steph's obviously a great player," Jones said during his Wednesday press conference. "I never got to practice against him. He actually helped me a lot just talking with him. He's like, 'Hey, I see you do this on film,' or whatever, so he definitely played a good role for me just in talking with him and a lot of the guys on the team have a lot of respect for him. He's a great player and he'll continue to be a great player, and I wish him and his family nothing but success.
"We don’t have control over (trades), and it’s not our decision to make that decision. He’s going to be great. It was an honor just to get to know him, and we’ve just got to keep moving forward.”
The Patriots traded Gilmore for a 2023 sixth-round draft pick after the two sides failed to agree to a restructured contract. The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year skipped mandatory minicamp amid contract negotiations, but he was with the team for training camp while being on the active/physically unable to perform list.
Jones made it clear he won't let Gilmore's advice go to waste.
“He’s just an all-around good football player,” Jones said. “Obviously, it is what it is. We had our conversations, just like I have with a lot of older guys on our team. They always have good advice, so regardless of who it is — coach, player, scouting, whatever — I just try to take the advice, listen to what they have to say and take it and improve my game. … He had some good points.”
As the Patriots bid farewell to Gilmore, they are preparing for a Week 5 matchup vs. the Houston Texans. Gilmore is expected to make his Panthers debut in Week 7 vs. the New York Giants.