Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons
Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Patriots will see an old friend in Stephon Gilmore when they face the Panthers in Carolina for a Week 9 matchup on Sunday. This will be the first time that New England has faced its former star corner since dealing him to the Panthers on Oct. 6. While speaking to reporters on Wednesday leading into this head-to-head, Gilmore noted that part of the reason why the two sides decided to part ways centered around his quad injury.

Gilmore suffered the injury in Week 15 of last season and underwent surgery in December. From there, he'd miss the entirety of the team's offseason workouts, began the summer on the physically unable to perform list, and then was placed on injured reserve prior to roster cutdowns, meaning he was set to miss the first six weeks of the regular season. He didn't play another down for New England before being moved to Carolina. 

"I wasn't ready at the beginning of training camp, I'm going to be completely honest with you," Gilmore said, via "The only thing [was] I just didn't like how they handled my situation with my injury. A lot went on with that that I didn't agree with and now that I am here, I am able to do the things I need to do to get me back and be ready to where I need to be.

"I learned a lot there and got a lot of friends there, a lot of great coaches. I just didn't like how they handled my situation with my injury." 

Of course, there was also a financial component to Gilmore and the Patriots' relationship fracturing. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year was open about wanting a contract that brought him up to a more respectable level and among his peers at the cornerback position, instead of the $7 million he was set to be paid in the final year of his contract. While he's still playing under that deal with the Panthers, Gilmore didn't answer whether or not he would have returned to play for the Patriots under that deal once he was eligible to come off injured reserve in Week 7. 

Gilmore did acknowledge that there was a conversation had between he and Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the two did walk away in agreement that it was best to move on. 

"Like I said, we had a conversation and it was better for both of us to go in opposite directions — whether it was the contract, or whatever -- it was better for both of us to go our opposite ways," he said.

In his first game with the Panthers last week, Gilmore was targeted four times and allowed two catches for 19 yards and recorded an interception.