Rock Hill’s Gilmore gearing up in summer before contract season

CHARLOTTE, NC (WCCB Charlotte) — Buffalo Bills defensive back Stephon Gilmore has extra motivation this offseason.

It’s a contract year.

Gilmore, a Rock Hill native, enters his fifth season in the NFL. Buffalo picked up his fifth-year, rookie-contract option this past season and will pay the former Gamecock $11.08 million in 2016.

But after seeing top-tier cornerbacks signing mega-contracts this offseason, an all-pro season would mean big money in Gilmore’s future. Josh Norman received a 5-year, $75 million dollar contract from the Redskins and Janoris Jenkins signed a 5-year, $62.5 million dollar deal from the NY Giants.

“That’s why I come out here everyday and work on my game,” Gilmore said. “It’s motivation. I had great years my first four years and this is the year to make everyone in the league.”

It’s the third straight summer that Gilmore has trained at Performance Unlimited in South Charlotte. Gilmore works out with a collection of NFL guys with ties to the Carolinas: Captain Munnerlyn of the Minnesota Vikings, Darian Stewart of the Denver Broncos and Deangelo Williams of the Pittsburgh Steelers, all work out together.

Gilmore’s performance coach at Performance Unlimited, Jeremy Boone, has seen the cornerback’s elevated commitment to staying in shape.

“He didn’t like his body to be sore,” Performance Coach Jeremy Boone said of the Gilmore when he first worked with him three years ago. “He didn’t want to go the extra mile. He was young in the league, but now to see him flip-flop and he’s one of the leaders in the group and he understands that if he wants to have a long career in the NFL he has to do things that is going to make sure he’s strong and can handle the demands.”

No longer a ‘project’ during the offseason, as Boone described his client, Gilmore has changed the balance of activities off-the-field from his college days.

“In college, I lifted a little more. Now we lift, but its not as heavy,” Gilmore said. “In the NFL you have to take care of your body more because its physical.”

And Gilmore knows all too well about the toll that the body takes because of the physical side of the game. He has failed to finish the season in each of the past two seasons due to injury.

“I have to stay in great shape and work on my technique in the offseason so I can be good during the season.”

And so that he can be good financially after the season.