COLUMBIA, S.C. (TheBigSpur) - New England Patriots cornerback and 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The team has placed him on their Reserve/COVID-19 list, as the positive result comes from Tuesday’s round of testing.
The Patriots had their game against the Kansas City Chiefs postponed from Sunday to Monday due to Cam Newton testing positive. The team received no more positive results in two rounds of testing before Monday’s game and the decision to play as scheduled was made. Scheduled to host the Denver Broncos this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET, the Patriots will not be allowed at their practice facility today.
In four games this season, the 30-year-old Gilmore has recorded 11 combined tackles, two passes defensed, one interception and one forced fumble.
In Setpember, the Patriots reportedly gave Gilmore a $5 million pay raise for this season.
In 17 games played between the regular season and playoffs a season ago, Gilmore had 55 tackles, six interceptions (two returned for a touchdown) and 20 passes breakups. The interception and pass breakup numbers were each tied for first in the NFL when his season ended over Wild Card Weekend.
Gilmore spent the first five seasons of his career with the AFC East Buffalo Bills, and had an interesting answer when asked about his improved play since coming to the Patriots in 2017 off making his first Pro Bowl in 2016.
“Me in Buffalo, the first five years, I had four different defensive coordinators, three different head coaches, so I was kind of trying to learn each and every year,” Gilmore said in May when speaking about why his game has elevated with the Patriots, via MassLive.com. “Once I got to New England, I got some consistency and the same guys around, same coaches. I feel like that is why my game took off more.”
Ironically, Gilmore will be on his third defensive coordinator in four seasons with the Patriots. Matt Patricia departed to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions after 2017, while Brian Flores left for the Miami Dolphins' head coaching job after 2018. Legendary head coach Bill Belichick assumed responsibilities in 2019, and will once again have them this season.
The former South Carolina star has built a reputation of being one of the NFL’s best shutdown corners. In three seasons playing with the Patriots, Gilmore has been to two Super Bowls (won one) and been named to two All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams. What is even more impressive is that he consistently shadows the opponent’s top receiver.
“It is tough every week going against the best guy,” he continued to MassLive. “(You can’t) have one play that you slack off. I try and focus on each and every play and try not to let my team down. Going in each and every week you know the ball is coming your way, that is the thing you do know because you’re covering the best guy. Sometimes being on another guy you know the ball might not come your way, but you still play hard. When you’re covering the best guy the ball can come to you every single play, so that is the thing that drives me each and every week.”
Should the Patriots be cleared to play against the Broncos, they’ll arguably be without their two best players in Gilmore and Newton.