After an injury riddled 2013 season, Bills CB Stephon Gilmore is back in action after rehabbing a surgically repaired hand/wrist issue. Gilmore suffered the injury during the second quarter of the Bills third preseason game last season against the Washington Redskins. The injury caused him to miss the team's final preseason game and the first five regular season games but plagued him for the remainder of the season after returning to the field.
"It was difficult but I knew it was because of his injury," said safety Aaron Williams. "I give him a lot of credit for even going out there. I know some guys wouldn't have even tried to figure out some options to get back out there on the field but he knew he was going to have a tough decision playing with one arm, basically, so it's tough for him and he tried it the best he could so to me he did a great job."
Gilmore hasn't missed a beat since the onset of offseason training and is practicing without restriction since the opening of camp last week.
"It feels good," said Gilmore. "That was my first time ever having surgery and getting hurt so it feels good to be back to myself and be out there having fun and be playing how I know how to play. It helped me out a lot. I've never struggled like that before when I had that surgery on my hand so it helped me out a lot. It humbled me and I feel good now so I'm ready to go help this team win."
After a promising rookie season in 2012 the man who lined up opposite Gilmore was facing free agency, but chose to re-sign with the Bills. Leodis McKelvin, a fellow first-round draft choice, felt he could team with Gilmore to be a truly stifling tandem for wide receiver.
"Playing with that guy is one of the reasons I chose to come back," said McKelvin. "I chose to come back because I felt like I was a good player on the other side of him and we'd be able to get our defense in the right way."
Despite Gilmore's injury last season, the remaining defensive backs still managed to put together a top five ranking. Now healthy, Gilmore has an opportunity to anchor one of the best corps of defensive backs in the league.
"Having Stephon there is a huge factor because he's such a playmaker," said Williams. "A guy with his size and speed, it helps me not to worry about taking care of his side because I know, I trusted him, to take away his man … all I got to say is we'll be top three instead of top five."
With the first few full contact practices under Gilmore's belt, it seems his previous injury isn't going to be a factor.
"It felt good, man," said Gilmore. "That's the name of the game is putting the pads on and hitting. It feels good to get out there and put your hands on receivers and play physical. It's what I like to do."