New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard is trying to forget 2017 and for Odell Beckham Jr.’s progress, that’s for the best.
New York Giants fans are probably doing anything in their power to forget the 2017 season, a campaign that featured losses on and off the field and commenced an overhaul of both the roster and management. Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard is apparently doing the same, flat out blanking on one of the more literally painful moments from last year.
Speaking after the opening day of the Giants’ mandatory minicamp proceedings, Shepard, entering his third NFL season, was predictably asked about the return of fellow receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who worked on a football field for the first time since a devastating ankle injury ended his year in October.
His positive review should have Giants fans even more pumped up for an autumn of redemption.
“He looked good. I swear, I forget that he got hurt sometimes,” Shepard said, according to Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. “No doubt in my mind, I’ve never seen a guy work as hard as him and want it as much as him. There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be back, and you’ll be seeing 13 light it up in the stadium.”
Both Beckham and Shepard, as well as the since-departed Brandon Marshall, suffered injuries in the same game, a 27-22 October loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at MetLife Stadium. That loss dropped the Giants to 0-5, en route to a 3-13 final record, obtaining that dubious mark for the first time in franchise history.
Though Beckham and Marshall were done for the year, Shepard returned to the lineup and took on increased responsibilities in their places. Though further injuries limited him to only six more games, Shepard’s development was a rare silver lining for the Giants. In November, he set career-highs with 11 receptions for 142 yards in a 31-21 loss in San Francisco. He tied the reception mark one month later in a home loss to Philadelphia, missing out on beating his yardage-high by four yards in hardly-fought 34-29 defeat to the Eagles.
Shepard concluded the abbreviated year with 59 receptions for 731 yards and two touchdowns.
Nonetheless, he’s looking forward to having Beckham back in the lineup.
“You notice the difference when he’s here,” Shepard said during May’s organized team activities, according to a transcript obtained by BigBlueInteractive.com. “He’s one of those guys that is always got a bubbly personality, always making everybody laugh, so we love him here, but he does other things as well.”