When the New York Giants lost wide receiver Sterling Shepard for the year due to a torn ACL back in Week 3, they lost a big talent on the field. However, the locker room leader remained with the team and had a greater impact than anyone expected.
Shepard is the longest-tenured Giant and other than Landon Collins, who joined the team mid-season, Shep was the only player who was with the team when they last made the playoffs back in 2016.
While most injured players don’t typically remain with the team while recovering from injury, Shepard has embraced his role on the sideline. He immediately turned into the Giants’ biggest cheerleader and has been doing everything he can to support the team straight to the playoffs.
Don't tell Sterling Shepard that the Giants don't have cheerleaders.
— TheGiantsWire (@TheGiantsWire) November 13, 2022
Shepard’s continued leadership while being sidelined is not something that is lost on head coach Brian Daboll.
“I just think he’s very grateful. We wanted him around. (General manager) Joe (Schoen) and I wanted him around. He’s a great teammate. He provides a lot of juice. He’s out here at practice every day,” Daboll said. “He’s one of the better leaders that I’ve been around — very selfless. I wouldn’t know how he feels. Certainly, I believe that he wishes he could play. But he comes out here with a great attitude. He’s our music guy. So, he’s been great. Very fortunate for him to be here.
“I think he helps everybody. He helps the defensive guys, the receivers, the offensive guys. He’s all over in practice. Walkthrough, he’s talking to those guys. He’s played a lot of football. I think the guys have a lot of respect for him. He’s just been a really good teammate for us.
“Joe and I, we wanted him around. And that’s up to him, too, based on how he’s rehabbing and stuff. But he’s here every day. He’s an energy giver. He lifts everybody up: coaches, players, staff members. Just a great teammate.”
Shepard has been noticeable on the sidelines and he’s enjoying the Giants’ playoff ride despite not being able to play.
Certainly, the Giants miss Shepard and would love to have him available for the playoffs. However, clearly, Shepard is doing all he can to help the team continue their season.