Stephon Gilmore finally returned to the football field Wednesday...just not for the New England Patriots.
On his first day of eligibility after coming off of the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, Gilmore practiced for his new team, the Carolina Panthers, rocking a brand new jersey number, too.
The 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Patriots, Gilmore was dealt to the Panthers earlier this month in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round draft pick.
Gilmore hadn't played for New England since Week 15 of the 2020 season due in part to a quad injury. He is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million contract he originally signed with the Patriots prior to the 2017 season; the sides being unable to agree on a restructured deal led to Gilmore's trade to Carolina.
Here's a glimpse of Gilmore in his new threads:
Gilmore joins a Panthers team that has lost three straight following a surprising 3-0 start to the season with new quarterback Sam Darnold. However, Gilmore's addition should only bolster an already-strong pass defense for Carolina; the Panthers are giving up just 196.8 yards per game through the air through six weeks, the second-fewest in the NFL.
Meanwhile, the Patriots just allowed Dak Prescott to pass for 445 yards for the Dallas Cowboys in their 35-29 overtime loss Sunday at Gillette Stadium, the most-ever given up by a Bill Belichick-coached team in New England.
Assuming Carolina activates Gilmore off the PUP list -- it has 21 days to do so -- he won't have to wait long to face former employer. The Patriots and Panthers will face off in Charlotte in Week 10 at 1 p.m. Gilmore will get to face his other former team, the Buffalo Bills, in Week 15.