Stephon Gilmore “surprised a little bit” by Patriots interest

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The Patriots surprised everyone by signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore in free agency. On Monday, he was introduced to the media via conference call.

He said that the Patriots emerged as a contender at the beginning of the process, but that he was “surprised a little bit” by their interest.

“It’s an honor to play under coach [Bill] Belichick,” Gilmore added. “Coming in, watching from afar, obviously I’ve played against them a lot. They find a way to win so that’s one thing you’ve got to respect about them. But it starts over every year, so I’m just looking forward to going in and meeting my teammates, learning from the coaches, and learning from the players and being the best team that we can be.”

Gilmore explained how he will contribute to making that happen.

“I think a strong part of my game is just being physical at the line of scrimmage and playing a lot of man-to-man coverage,” Gilmore said. “But I’m just ready to do whatever the coaches want me to do to make the team better. I’m down for whatever challenge they want me to be in. I think me just pressing at the line of scrimmage and making plays on the football — that’s the strongest point of my game.”

Gilmore also said he’s looking forward to playing with cornerback Malcolm Butler. Given the contract Gilmore received, however, there’s a chance that may never happen.