FOXBORO — Maybe Stephon Gilmore was just worn down by the subject matter.
The Patriots corner is one of the softest-spoken players in the locker room at Gillette Stadium, but that doesn’t mean he’s not opinionated. He hears other corners around the league talk, and he’s not afraid to say why that’s not his style when asked.
I brought the topic up to him this week, mentioning Jaguars corner Jalen Ramsey and Ramsey’s comments on Chiefs playmaker Tyreek Hill being more of a “return specialist” than a receiver.
Does Gilmore find any amusement in things like that when he hears them?
“It’s funny,” Gilmore said. “A lot of people can talk but you’ve gotta back it up — which he does. Sometimes. It is what it is. A lot of guys that talk, that’s just their personality or that’s just how they is.
“I feel like a lot of people that talk like that, they’ve got a lot of energy because they’re playing . . . that’s just how they is.”
Wait. Because they’re playing . . . what? Gilmore didn’t elaborate at the time. But he did on the Zolak and Bertrand program on 98.5 The Sports Hub Wednesday.
Once again, he was asked about Ramsey’s trash talk.
“It’s his personality,” Gilmore said. “That’s not my style, but I find a lot of guys that talk are mostly zone guys so they have a lot of energy to do that.”
There you have it. “Zone guys.”
Gilmore of course plays zone in the Patriots system but Bill Belichick’s defense has been one of the heaviest man-to-man units in football recently. That’s in part to the personnel they’ve acquired, including Gilmore, the team’s highest-paid corner and its best man-to-man defender. He takes pride in having an assignment and trying to shut him down one-on-one.
But Gilmore told me there were a variety of reasons he doesn’t like to talk leading up to a game the way someone like Ramsey does.
“I just kind of like to try to focus on what I have to do,” he said. “I don’t want too many distractions going to my team. I just try to focus on my job and whatever tasks I have that week. I just feel like it’s a distraction and I don’t want to be that type of teammate.”
On the field might be a little different, but not much. You’ll rarely see him go back and forth with one of his targets, though it does happen occasionally. Super Bowl LII was an exception when Gilmore saw a great deal of one of his best friends and college teammate Alshon Jeffery in coverage.
“That’s probably the most I’ve talked,” he said. “I basically just focus on what I’m trying to do.”
Regardless of where he is, on the field or off, Gilmore isn’t into false bravado — even if it sometimes is accompanied by public adoration.
“I just feel like that’s how the world is now,” Gilmore said. “They talk and say they’re this, they’re that, and the world kind of believes it. They don’t really watch it. They don’t really watch what they’re doing. They just believe it instead of just judging people by what they do.”
That’s why he’s keeping his comments this week about the Chiefs typically Patriots-esque.
“They’ve got a lot of explosive receivers,” he said. “They’re undefeated. They’ve got a good quarterback so it’s going to be a fun opportunity to go out there and play.”