Sterling Shepard will not play for the Giants in Sunday’s NFC wild card game at the Vikings. He may not ever play for them again, in fact. But Shepard has become an important voice for this surprise team from the sideline. And on Wednesday, he cleaned up a bit of ancient, but still stinging, history.
Shepard can admit it now: He really wishes The Boat Trip never happened. If only he, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Roger Lewis had stayed home. Or at least not gone to Miami to hang out with Justin Bieber and Trey Songz.
Shepard, whose 2022 season ended in Week 3 with a knee injury, is the last remaining Giant from the boat party and he admits to having regrets about making the trip following the team’s regular-season finale at Washington on New Year’s Day.
“Yeah,” Shepard said hesitantly when asked if he wishes the receivers had returned to New Jersey rather than partied in Miami. “Just from all the attention it received. It kind of drew away from the game. It had the guys wondering what was going on when the focus should be on the game, so I do regret it in that aspect. To the outside world, it became all about that.”
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Like it or not, The Boat Trip was a seminal moment in Giants history.
The foursome’s partying hit social media less than 24 hours after a rousing Week 17 win over Washington and less than a week before the wild card game at the Packers.
In hindsight, it was perhaps the first Ben McAdoo red flag. Beckham and Cruz did not exactly shower themselves in glory when they ducked the media when the locker room opened the next day, forcing Shepard, then a rookie, to face the music. And then the entire receiving corps imploded at Lambeau Field, dropping several balls in a blowout loss to squander Eli Manning’s last postseason appearance. Oh, and Beckham put a hole in the wall. Then, the organization’s collapse began in earnest.
But six years later, the Giants are back in the playoffs. The curse is over.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]