Stephon Gilmore had an interesting exit from the New England Patriots.

It was reported early Wednesday morning that he was going to be released by the Patriots, but in fact he was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a sixth-round draft pick in 2023, the Panthers announced.

Gilmore, who is from Rock Hill, South Carolina and a former star DB with the Gamecocks, was interested in coming home, according to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. The Panthers are looking for help at that position following the season-ending injury to rookie Jaycee Horn, another former South Carolina star.

Gilmore has been on the PUP list because of a prolonged quad injury that also required surgery.

Gilmore was named Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2018 and 2019. Originally a first-round pick of the Bills in 2012, Gilmore signed a five-year, $65 million deal with the Patriots in 2017.

Patriots wanted news of his release out early to leverage a possible trade, but they were always going to send him to a desirable place. Carolina meets that criteria.