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Two years with the New England Patriots and two Super Bowl appearances for Stephon Gilmore.
The former South Carolina standout and the Patriots are headed back following the 37-31 thrilling overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs. New England plays Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XLIII today in Atlanta.
It is New England’s third straight Super Bowl appearance.
Gilmore signed a five-year deal with New England in March of 2017 after playing five seasons with the Buffalo Bills. This year might have been the Rock Hill native’s best season in the NFL.
The 28-year-old had 45 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and 20 passes defensed. Gilmore was Associated Press All-Pro selection and picked to go the Pro Bowl.
With the South Carolina Gamecocks, he led the team in tackles in 2010 (79) and had a team high in interceptions in 2010 (3) and 2011 (4).
South Carolina got a five-game winning streak against Clemson (2009-2013) started with a 34-17 upset win at Williams-Brice Stadium in 2009 that came thanks in part to using Gilmore as a freshman defensive back as a wildcat quarterback. Gilmore had chosen the Gamecocks over Clemson in recruiting and convinced friend and onetime Clemson commit Devonte Holloman to join him in Columbia.
“We hated Clemson. That’s just how it was,” Gilmore said. “Just didn’t like them. We were going to do whatever it took to win. There are a lot of important games in the season, but that’s the biggest game for all the players.”
Gilmore is one of four people in the Patriots’ organization with South Carolina. A.C. Flora graduate Jack Easterby is New England’s character coach.
Rock Hill native Cordarelle Patterson is a receiver/kicke returner for New England and former Clemson standout Dwayne Allen is a tight end. Patterson had two catches for 18 yards and averaged 26.7 yards on three kickoff returns in Sunday’s win.