Stephon Gilmore was not in attendance when the Patriots opened their mandatory, three-day minicamp at Gillette Stadium Monday morning.
In fact, the former Defensive Player of the Year will reportedly skip the entirety of the camp. Gilmore is in the final year of his contract, scheduled for a salary of $7 million this fall and has reportedly been looking for a new deal since last offseason. The Patriots have also reportedly have had trade talks over the last year regarding the team’s No. 1 cornerback.
Gilmore is certainly not the only player in the NFL avoiding mandatory minicamp and some of his teammates acknowledged that seeing the business of the sport infringe upon the team-building process at this point in the offseason just comes with the territory.
“Pretty private,” safety Adrian Phillips responded when asked if he’d been in contact with his defensive back teammate and what those conversations were like. “I support my brother. I wish he was here. But I support him all the same. What he has going and when he gets back, he’ll let you know how that went. But that’s my guy. We’re brothers. We all keep in contact with each other.
“You never know anybody’s situation. So it’s hard to speak on it and it would be wrong for me to speak on it. So the best thing to do is just let him know that you support him with what they’re going through and hope everything works out for them and their family. You want them back, but you understand it’s the business side. What he’s going through is what he’s going through and I can’t speak for him.”
Matthew Slater has been around New England for a long time. He’s seen a number of contract issues come and go over the years, with varied resolutions.
He also knows that Gilmore’s situation is the cornerback’s business, first and foremost.
“That’s a situation that I don’t want to get too far into because it’s frankly none of my business and I don’t have a full understanding of what’s going on there,” Slater said. “Obviously you support all your teammates, whether they’re here or not. You wish them well. You hope they are doing well physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and hope their families are doing well. And I feel that way about Steph. And I feel that way about all the guys that are here as well. That’s a situation, a question that you’d have to ask Steph about I guess.”
That opportunity may not present itself until the cornerback returns to work in New England, now likely not until training camp at the earliest.