EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard, rehabbing from a torn ACL that limited him to three games during the 2022 season, said Tuesday he is “right on schedule ... a little bit ahead” as he tries to come back from his second major injury in as many seasons.
“My goal is to be ready for the season,” said the 30-year-old Shepard. “Whatever that takes is what I’m going to try to do, but I’m also not going to rush it. We get to that time and I’m not feeling right then that’s just what it’s going to be, but that is my goal.”
Shepard caught 13 passes in three games last season. He played in only seven games in 2021, catching 36 passes before a torn Achilles tendon ended his season.
Shepard is eighth on the Giants’ all-time receptions list with 362 catches. Despite his lengthy injury history and several additions at the wide receiver position, the Giants brought Shepard back on a one-year, $1.3 million contract to see if he has anything left to contribute.
“It means a lot, man, you know what I mean, this organization has been really good to me throughout my playing career, and some of the stuff that’s happened over the years,” Shepard said. “I’m grateful and thankful and I try to give this organization everything I’ve got just for those reasons.”
The Giants have added several players to the wide receiver room since last season. Parris Campbell, Jeff Smith and Jamison Crowder were signed as free agents. Jalin Hyatt was drafted in the third round. Undrafted free agent Bryce Ford-Wheaton was given a hefty (for a UDFA) amount of guaranteed money.
“It’s probably the biggest receiver group I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here but that’s what we wanted to bring in. We wanted to bring in competition,” Shepard said. “Some guys run from competition and some people don’t. We’re definitely going to see what we have because we have a lot of guys that can play some good ball. I love the fact that we added more playmakers. It’s not just on one person to make all the plays. We’ve got a lot of guys that can do it.”
Is Shepard still one of those guys who can make plays? It sounds like we are going to have to wait a while to know for sure, but some time this fall we should find out.