New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard has missed games due to injury in three of his five seasons. His primary goal entering the 2021 season? Make it through all 17 games, which would be the first time he has played a full season since 2018.
“We actually had to write down our goals last week, my number one (goal) was to play all 17 (games),’ Shepard told hosts Gabe ikard and Teddy Lehman on the ‘Oklahoma Breakdown’ podcast. “I have had two seasons where, I think, I’ve missed 8 games...so, I want to get back to playing all 17 to be able to help my teammates out...when you can’t be out there with your brothers, and you see them grinding every day - it’s a bummer.”
I’ve often said that Shepard’s the most underrated offensive player on the Giants roster, but his struggles with durability have been an unfortunate reality. A healthy Shepard would be a huge benefit to this offense.
Shepard will wear No. 3 this season. That is in honor of his later father, Derrick Shepard, wore the No. 3 at Oklahoma and he played five years in the National Football League.
The elder Shepard passed away at the age of 35, when Sterling was only 6 years old. Shepard said he wore No. 3 at every stage of football before donning 87 with the Giants. Now that the NFL has changed its jersey number rules, Shepard will go back to wearing the No. 3.
Shepard discussed how he was training in Arizona with Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. this past offseason, and he had just returned to New Jersey. When asked about Barkley, he said that he’s “looking good and that he’s confident” but didn’t want to speak for his teammate, other than mentioning the running back’s ridiculous ability to squat weight when healthy.
Shepard had an interesting observation when asked about the difference between playing with an established veteran quarterback like Eli Manning vs. a young, developing quarterback like Daniel Jones.
“Eli had everything down pat. He was able to tell me my route and then tell three other guys the routes they had to run. It’s a little different with a young guy who is trying to find his way ‘cause he has a lot on his plate...Daniel is a smart guy who wants to be great. He really puts in the work every day - I tip my hat to him, first one in the building, last one to leave and I really appreciate the way he works. He’s made some strides for sure.”
Ikard asked Shepard to break down the personality difference with the quarterbacks who seem so similar, and Shepard elaborated on the extreme differences the two quarterbacks have in personality, but acknowledged how they may appear the same from the outside. Everything from Manning’s proclivity to constantly pull pranks in the locker room to Jones’ lack of fashion sense was acknowledged.
Lehman also asked Shepard if the pandemic has affected his rapport with Jones and the rest of his teammates, because of the loss of reps.
“Not really. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to get together...we’ve taken three trips already...We’ll spend a week, a week and a half, with each other. We will rent a crib somewhere and all we are doing is throwing and we go workout, and then do it all over again the next day.”
The last question was one that had to be addressed as Ikard asked “how often does someone bring up the boat picture?” Which is in reference to the 2016 Miami boat picture that was taken before the Giants 38-13 Wildcard Green Bay Packers loss.
“You know what? They said we were playing Miami for the 17th game and everyone went berserk on Twitter - the picture was everywhere - it was like it just happened or something (laughing). I’ll never be let up for that.”
Giants fans would agree with the overall sentiment that it would be lovely to see Sterling Shepard, wearing No. 3, on the football field for 17 games this season. Is that likely? We’ll have to wait and see.