Stephon Gilmore on Cowboys: 'It's Like Fresh Air'

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23 May 2023: Stephon Gilmore (21) of the Dallas Cowboys during an OTA practice at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

FRISCO, Texas — Things are getting very real for new additions to the Dallas Cowboys, including both Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore, both having joined the team this offseason as a result of needle-moving trades. For Gilmore, who walks into a defensive secondary headlined by Trevon Diggs, the beginning of OTAs gives him the first real feel of what the Cowboys defense is capable of.

Last week, he was tasked with rotating between head-to-head matchups with CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and more, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year working to get acclimated to Dan Quinn's style of football.

"Just mental and learning the plays and learning where your teammates are going to be, learning the terminology and stuff like that, and trying to put it into action," said Gilmore. "You can't really compete yet, so, but really try to do all of our other stuff to be ready for training camp."

The two-time First-Team All-Pro cornerback has to love the situation he's being dropped into, because Diggs is just one of several very capable defensive backs — e.g., DaRon Bland, Jourdan Lewis and the three-headed hydra at safety — led by a feverish pass rush and one of the best and most-respected defensive coordinators in the entire league. 

"I'm excited." Gilmore said. "Dan Quinn is a great coach. They had a great defense last year. I'm just trying to bring my athletic ability on the team and make plays for the defense because it was already good — just trying to make them better."

It's all so refreshing for Gilmore, who had a great 2022 season with the Colts but feels an extra bit of juice as he becomes part of one of the best defenses in the NFL.

"For sure," said the five-time Pro Bowler. "Anytime you go somewhere new it's like a breath of fresh air, new opportunity, and [we've] got some good young players. They always keep you going, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

It certainly doesn't hurt that both Gilmore and his family have long been rabid fans of the Cowboys. 

"My whole family is Cowboys fans, so, when they heard the news, we were all excited," he said.

Needless to say, so was he. 

"I was very excited [because] I've been a Cowboys fan all my life, growing up as a kid," Gilmore said with a smile less than 24 hours after landing in Dallas and making his way to the team's headquarters in Frisco. "My dad, my cousins, I told my uncle I had a surprise for him. He was so excited. I'm just excited to be in town and see this amazing facility. 

"I'm just looking forward to making plays in this Cowboys uniform."

It goes without saying that the feeling is more than mutual within the team's coaching staff, front office and locker room.

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