Sterling Shepard knows the clock is likely ticking on his time with the New York Giants. The team’s longest-tenured player, a Giant since 2016, Shepard is almost certainly playing his final game as a Giant — and probably his NFL career — on Sunday.
“It’s been a great ride and yeah, I’m just looking forward to taking it all in and walking out of that tunnel,” Shepard said on Wednesday. “That’s my most favorite things about football, just running out of that tunnel. The feeling you get, it’s indescribable. I’m looking forward to that, for sure.”
Shepard, 30, has not said officially that he will retire at season’s end. He does, though, see the end of the line drawing near.
“I mean, yeah, for sure. It is what it is. I think this point in time comes for everybody at some point throughout their career,” he said. “I just look at how blessed I’ve been to be in the same spot for eight years, it’s been a blessing.”
Shepard is sixth on the Giants’ all-time receiving list with 369 receptions. He needs two on Sunday to tie Jeremy Shockey for fifth place. He is 16th in franchise history in receiving yards with 4,077.
This season, Shepard has played sparingly. He has only seven receptions, with no more than one in any game. He has played only nine offensive snaps in the last four weeks.
“It’s been great from top to bottom. I know not everybody has that [former Giants defensive end Michael] Strahan story, leaving with a ring on their finger and having some good seasons behind them but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I’m very appreciative of this organization and all they have done for me, my family,” Shepard said.
Shepard has had an injury-plagued career. He came back this season and earned a roster spot after missing most of the two prior seasons with a torn Achilles tendon and a torn ACL.
Through it all, Shepard has remained a beloved and valued Giant. He hopes to be remembered for more than what he did on the field.
“Really just about my character, more than my play on the field,” Shepard said when asked what he hoped people in the organization would say about him. “What all I’ve brought to my teammates around me. That’s the legacy that I would like to leave. I want guys to say that I’m their favorite teammate, you know what I mean? I do this for them and that’s what it has always been about for me.”