Giants’ Brian Daboll explains Sterling Shepard’s use as punt returner

In Sunday’s preseason finale against the New York Jets, fans of the New York Giants saw something completely unexpected: wide receiver Sterling Shepard being used as a punt returner.

It was a curious decision but one head coach Brian Daboll later explained.

“That was the next step of his rehab,” Daboll told reporters on Sunday. “To get him out there and play a few more reps in live competition and again, I told you guys (Saturday) night, he can catch punts and it’d be good for him to get out there in live action and catch a punt. Where he’s at and what we’ve asked him to do, I’m happy with the progress that he’s made.”

Shepard fielding punts led some to question his status on the team. Could he really be on the bubble? Is Shep actually at risk of being cut?

If that was the reason Shepard fielded a punt during a pointless preseason game, he’s not sweating it.

“I leave that up to God,” Shepard told the New York Post. “I’ve done everything I’ve had to. I leave it all out there every time I step on the field, whether it’s practice or the game. I don’t like to live with regret — and if I give it my all, that’s all I can do.”

Daboll didn’t sound like a guy ready to consider cutting the most-tenured Giants player, either. Rather, he praised the veteran for working his way back from two serious injuries.

“(He’s done) everything that we’ve asked him to do, and we’ve had a rehab plan I know that I’ve talked about for him. He’s done a nice job of kind of hitting each marker that we’ve set for him up to this point,” Daboll said. “Pleased with where he’s at, trainers have done a really good job with him and he’s done a good job himself, as a player, of being ready to go and I’d say performing well each time he’s had an opportunity to go out there on the practice field or in the game of being conscientious and knowing what to do. He’s looked pretty good in terms of his quickness and his explosion coming back after a couple years of injuries, so I’m pleased with where he’s at.”

Although he wanted to see more action this summer, Shepard trusted in his coaches and the trainers.

“I just do whatever I’m told,” Shepard told The Post. “I think [coming back] from injury has a part to do with it. They want to get me a little bit more live action before the season starts and make sure I’m feeling good out there and prepared for what’s coming next. I honestly think it was good for me. I already felt good after last week, but I don’t think it can ever be too much.”

The Giants have until 4:00 p.m. ET to make a decision on Shepard’s roster status.

Story originally appeared on Giants Wire