BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Alshon Jeffery will look across the line of scrimmage on Sunday and see his college roommate, with whom Jeffery is so close that he served as a groomsman in his wedding.
But this week, Jeffery will not view New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore as any of those. He's just an opponent in his way at the Super Bowl.
"He's on the other side," Jeffery said. "I play for the Eagles."
One of the most compelling matchups in the Super Bowl will be between the two high-priced free-agent signings on both the Eagles and the Patriots. The Eagles signed Jeffery away from the Chicago Bears on a one-year, $14 million contract before agreeing to a four-year, $52 million contract extension in December. Gilmore left the Buffalo Bills for a five-year, $65 million contract with the Patriots. Both played up to their lofty contracts in the championship games; Jeffery with two touchdowns, Gilmore with a game-clinching pass breakup.
It will be the biggest games in the careers of both 27-year-old, six-year veterans. Gilmore knows Jeffery is a physical receiver with a big catch radius. Jeffery lauded Gilmore's physicality, long arms, and film study. It will be the first time they've matched up against each other since competitive practices at South Carolina.
"A lot of things changed since college," Jeffery said.
Neither player expects much talking on the field. There hasn't been much talking this week, either. Gilmore said they haven't had an extended conversation since the offseason, when they'll catch up in earnest. For now, there's little chumminess between them.
"Haven't talked lately, just trying to focus on the game," Gilmore said.
"I'm pretty sure he feels the same way," Jeffery said. "I play for the Eagles, not friends 1/8this week3/8, none of that."
They've known each other since they were two of the top high school recruits in South Carolina in the class of 2009, and both players committed to play for the Gamecocks in the same recruiting class. They were first teammates in a high school all-star game.