FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Welcome back, Stephon Gilmore.
That was one of the themes of the day as New England Patriots players returned to work following their bye weekend. Gilmore, the big-money free-agent signing who has missed the last three games with a concussion, said he should be ready to play Sunday on the road against the Denver Broncos.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I feel good."
Gilmore added he didn't want to get into detail on injuries, and that the decision was out of his hands the last three weeks as he "just listened to doctors and they made the best decision for me."
Monday marked the first time that Gilmore answered questions from reporters since an early October game with the Buccaneers after what was arguably his best game as a Patriot. He actually went through the media exercise twice.
Initially, the locker room wasn't supposed to open to reporters until around 2:15 p.m. ET. But when it opened about a half-hour earlier, Gilmore had a big scrum around him almost immediately. Yet not every member of the media corps was there, so when Gilmore came back into the locker room around 2:45, he agreed to do it again.
That opened him up to some playful ribbing from receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who was walking by the second time and said to Gilmore, "Talk about that game on Saturday."
"Nah. They got lucky," Gilmore replied with a smile, referencing Georgia (Mitchell's alma mater) beating South Carolina (Gilmore's alma mater).
As for the last few weeks, Gilmore complimented Johnson Bademosi for stepping in as a starter and said of himself, "I've still been locked in, stay studying, going over the game plan like I'm playing. It was good."
With Gilmore set to return, and fellow cornerback Eric Rowe (groin) having returned to practice for the first time last week, the Patriots could have a full house in the secondary once again. Gilmore doesn't seem concerned that any momentum he had built against the Buccaneers will be stunted by his absence.
"I feel like I got better. I felt comfortable that game," he said. "The more you play, and the more you play with guys, you get more comfortable. I feel better. Week to week, you feel comfortable, you keep playing, communication, tackling, footwork, all that stuff gets better."
Gilmore believes there is a good chemistry among the secondary.
"It's big," he said. "Those guys love to play the game, love to do whatever it takes and prepare to win. It's fun playing with them."