Bill Belichick: Stephon Gilmore, Patriots ‘mutually agreed to part ways’

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New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he and Stephon Gilmore mutually agreed to part ways in a statement on Wednesday. Belichick’s brief statement spun his side of the story of the breakup with Gilmore.

The Patriots will release or trade Gilmore by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, according to multiple reports. The decision stems from a contract dispute, per NFL Network.

“I am grateful to Stephon Gilmore for his significant contributions to our team. It was a privilege and pleasure to coach Steph,” Belichick wrote, “I appreciate him for the true professional and class act that he is and wish him all the best in the future. Following discussions over a long period of time, we mutually agreed to part ways today.”

Gilmore’s release will thrust cornerback J.C. Jackson into the No. 1 role for the remainder of the season. He, Jalen Mills and Jonathan Jones will serve as the team’s top three cornerbacks. Gilmore’s return would have been welcome, but apparently New England decided not to make it work.

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