By now, most die-hard Bills fans know the basics about the newest member of Buffalo’s secondary. Stephon “Happy” Gilmore (as many pundits and fans alike are branding him) has been described as hard-working, mature, and durable as he’s started 40 straight games for the SEC with no injuries.
He’s clean. There are no issues for this defensive back outside of football.
He’s safe. With a long history of decimating injuries, the Bills have chosen someone who is famously known for not having any.
What I personally find intriguing about Gilmore is his maturity. Many fans last night pointed out the fact that the cornerback from South Carolina looked dismal when his name was called as the tenth pick of the Buffalo Bills. Some jumped all over him by referencing former Bills running back Willis McGahee, who’s distaste for Buffalo was made very clear to all and ultimately led to his demise on the team.
I saw something different.
To me, Stephon Gilmore, as he was making his way onto a stage that would change his life forever, looked humbled. Imagine the emotions that come with this kind of opportunity, this kind of security. Some draftees were full of smiles while others had tears streaming down their faces. Gilmore was stoic.
When asked about his seeming indifference to the situation, Gilmore stated “I was just so happy and put my head down and thanked the man above. It was a blessing to get picked and I’m happy.” Modesty will carry this man far in an NFL full of egotistical and self-absorbed players.
In quite a few videos and pictures, I’ve seen that same poker face on Gilmore that we witnessed when he was drafted. It’s more of a testament to his maturity and disposition than it is to his so-called “aversion” to playing in Buffalo. He likens Buffalo to his hometown and admittedly cannot wait to make plays for this team.
What more can we, as fans, ask for as far as personality and character go?
In interviews, he’s talked about how much he’s going to miss his college fans and the “chill bumps” he gets running onto the field. He has a strong faith in God and a very close bond with his family, especially his mother. Overall, this cornerback from South Carolina emanates qualities that are hard to find in this day and age.
By combining his humble and mature nature, instinctive timing, and explosive hitting, Stephon Gilmore can become a mainstay at the cornerback position in Buffalo for years to come. Let’s just hope the NFL doesn’t change him.