The first Sunday of November was once circled on the calendar as the return of a former NFL MVP to Bank of America Stadium. It’s now circled as the revisiting of a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Here’s a glance through the list of players who have spent time with both organizations as the 1 p.m. ET kickoff nears.
Aaron Monteiro, offensive tackle — By way of Brockton High School and Boston College, Monteiro has been on Carolina’s practice squad for all but two days of the regular season since November 2019. Prior to then, he spent one October week on the New England scout team before being released. The 24-year-old offensive tackle originally entered the NFL as part of the Miami Dolphins’ undrafted class three springs ago. Monteiro was a third-team All-ACC selection as a senior in Chestnut Hill.
Frank Herron, defensive tackle — Herron agreed to join the Panthers’ practice squad at its formation after signing in April and re-signing in May. He went on the injured list last week and was subsquently suspended two games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. The 27-year-old defensive lineman out of LSU first entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Patriots in 2018. Herron had been added to the New England practice squad one month into his rookie regular season and remained on a futures pact after earning a Super Bowl LIII ring. Since being waived by the Patriots during organized team activities the following offseason, Herron has logged five tours with four clubs.
Stephon Gilmore, cornerback — A Rock Hill native and South Carolina product, Gilmore returned home last month in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2023 draft. His window to return off physically unable to perform began soon after. And last Sunday, the 31-year-old cornerback made his Panthers debut. An interception followed on a pass intended for Atlanta Falcons rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. Gilmore finished last campaign on New England’s injured reserve after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn quad. The four-time Pro Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro and 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year entered this campaign with a $7 million base salary after his previous $4.5 million advance. Gilmore picked off 13 passes in a Patriots uniform, including Super Bowl LIII, after signing a five-year pact in 2017.
Rashaan Melvin, cornerback — Melvin signed to the Carolina practice squad midway through September and would be promoted to the active roster before the page turned to October. The 32-year-old cornerback first entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Northern Illinois in 2013. He’d then be claimed off waivers by the Patriots from the Baltimore Ravens during his third season, and saw 49 snaps on defense and 65 snaps on special teams through eight games. Melvin finished 2015 on New England’s practice squad and was released following the 2016 draft. A veteran of 69 games and 40 starts, his well-traveled career spans 254 tackles, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and one recovery.
Garrett Gilbert, quarterback — Re-signed to New England’s practice squad in September, the 30-year-old Super Bowl XLIX champion has been a member of seven NFL teams since landing in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. Gilbert found himself in Charlotte in 2017. He would be waived at the roster deadline that September and joined the practice squad. A promotion to the Panthers’ 53 followed in October for the SMU Mustangs transfer from the Texas Longhorns. Gilbert would be waived by Carolina again entering 2018 yet was brought back four months later after quarterbacks Cam Newton and Taylor Heinicke were shut down with injuries. He served as the backup in that year’s finale, and made his debut with a 2-of-3 passing line for 40 yards.