Stephon Gilmore headed home after Wednesday's trade sent the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year from New England to Carolina.
The Patriots planned to release the veteran cornerback before agreeing to a trade with the Panthers in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round draft pick. The All-Pro corner said he harbors no ill will toward his former club, despite animosity built up by the lack of a new contract he'd been seeking this offseason.
"It's a business," Gilmore said Thursday, via the Associated Press. "It happens all of the time. I had good years there, but I'm happy to be a Panther now."
Gilmore called the whirlwind Wednesday that led to him landing in Carolina as "crazy."
"Every year starts over and you have to earn it every year," Gilmore said. "That is how I look at it. I turn the page every year and try to earn everything I want. That is how I look at every situation."
Gilmore spent his first five seasons in Buffalo before signing in New England in 2017. He began the 2021 season on the PUP list due to offseason quad surgery.
A Rock Hill, S.C. native, Gilmore played his college ball at South Carolina. He now returns home as a professional.
"It's a place that I always wanted to play," Gilmore said. "Looking at the team and what they got, the potential. You have to put in a lot of hard work to get to where you want to go, but for sure, it was a great opportunity to come here."
NFL Network's Mike Giardi previously reported that Gilmore is healthy and has been running, noting there is "nothing wrong with the quad."
Following the trade, Gilmore is eligible to come off the PUP list in Week 7, when the Panthers take on the New York Giants.
"I will take it a day at a time, trust the training staff and work hard and go out and do what I do when the time is right," Gilmore said.
If Gilmore is indeed back to his All-Pro self, an already scary Panthers defense that ranks second against the pass and third in scoring allowed will be even more menacing when the corner hits the field.