Stephon Gilmore’s curious practice absence arises from COVID-19 protocols
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the 2019 NFL defensive player of the year, has missed four straight practices. With no injury reporting obligations arising in the offseason, his status had been cloaked in mystery.
Mystery solved, thanks to Phil Perry of NBCSportsBoston.com.
Perry reports that Gilmore left the team last week to deal with a personal matter. He’s now back in the area, but he must generate sufficient negative COVID-19 results before re-entering the building.
Coach Bill Belichick seemed to confirm this basis for Gilmore’s absence during a Monday appearance on WEEI.
“There are some protocols we have to deal with,” Belichick said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “When he’s able to come back, he’ll be back.”
The report comes amid some speculation that Gilmore wasn’t practicing because he would like a sweetener to his $10.5 million salary for 2020. Perry reports that Gilmore’s absences are not related to his contract.