Kelvin Sheppard signs with Bills, injures hamstring in camp: A fan’s reaction

Former LSU Tiger linebacker Kelvin Sheppard signed with the Buffalo Bills on July 30. With such a late signing he missed the first practice of training camp. Sheppard was the only Bills draft pick not signed by the time training camp started Saturday. He was a third-round pick for Buffalo and one of nine total 2011 NFL Draft selections by the Bills.

Sheppard was a standout linebacker for my LSU Tigers before he joined the Bills. He played in 53 games for the Tigers and started in 30 games over the final three seasons of his career for LSU. His career total of 311 tackles ranks ninth best at LSU. He led the Tigers in total tackles during his junior and senior seasons, making 110 stops in 2009 and 116 tackles in 2010. Sheppard made 136 unassisted tackles during his career, 26 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He also had seven pass break-ups, two interceptions, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. During his senior season, Sheppard was named first-team All-SEC.

Sheppard was in training camp July 31 competing against Andra Davis and Reggie Torbor for a starting inside linebacker spot. Sheppard did not finish the practice due to a left hamstring injury. Despite the competition with Davis, Sheppard says the veteran has worked with him to try to get him up to speed.

Sheppard picked up the injury covering a running back in a 1-on-1 drill. His muscle pull was deemed to be the worst of the three injuries that have occurred in training camp. Marcell Dareus was held out of the rest of practice after developing a leg cramp. Aaron Williams was kicked in the head "after receiver Paul Hubbard went head over heels on a pass play in which Williams was covering him. Dareus and Williams are both expected to be fine." Head coach Chan Gailey set no time frame for Sheppard's return.

Former Packers linebacker Nick Barnett was signed Aug. 1 to replace starting linebacker Paul Posluszny, who has signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sheppard said of the signing, "How could you not want a guy like that on your team?"

As an LSU fan, I hope Sheppard returns to the field soon for the Bills. I didn't expect to see him in a starting role in 2011 but I was definitely hoping that he could get some playing time as a backup this season.

More from Patrick Johnston:

Trio of LSU draft picks sign with their teams

Former LSU players Terrence Toliver and Josh Jasper sign NFL deals

Can Kevin Faulk make the Patriots' 2011 roster?

Sources:

Rodney McKissic, "Sheppard under Davis' wing", Buffalo News.com

Chris Brown, "Shep suffers muscle pull", Buffalo Bills.com

Stats from LSU Sports.net

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