Giants WR Sterling Shepard 'right on schedule' in comeback attempt

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 13, 2023

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. --New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard believes he's "right on schedule" in his recovery from a torn ACL, and his goal is to be ready for the start of the season.

Shepard has been running and working with trainers at organized team activities and Tuesday's minicamp after tearing the ACL in his left knee back in late September. That was just months after he returned from a torn Achilles tendon suffered the previous season.

The longest-tenured Giant appears to be moving well, running and cutting, in workouts.

"I'm right on schedule where I wanted to be, a little bit ahead. So that's always good," Shepard said. "I'm just trying to take it day by day and just focus on getting back to 100 percent."

Shepard, 30, had 13 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown before he crumpled to the ground with the noncontact injury in Week 3 of last season. He vowed not to have his career end on that note.

The Giants re-signed Shepard to a one-year deal earlier this offseason. In his mind, being ready for the Sept. 10 opener against the Dallas Cowboys is not off the table.

"My goal is to be ready for the season, so whatever that takes is what I'm going to try to do, but I'm also not going to rush it," Shepard said. "You get to that time and I'm not feeling right, then that's just what it's going to be. But that is my goal, and just take it day by day like I said and try to be the best I can be that day."

Shepard returning to the field isn't the only important thing. He also needs to stay on it. That has not happened regularly in recent years.

Shepard has missed at least four games in each of the past four seasons. He has appeared in just 10 games over the past two years.

This time the Giants have at least covered their bases. They have a crowded wide receiver room with the additions of Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt, Jamison Crowder and Jeff Smith this offseason.

"Yeah, it's probably the biggest receiver group I've been a part of since I've been here, but that's what we wanted to bring in," Shepard said. "We wanted to bring in competition. Some guys run from competition, and some people don't. We're definitely going to see what we have because we have a lot of guys that can play some good ball.

"I love the fact that we added more playmakers. It's not just on one person to make all the plays. We've got a lot of guys that can do it."

Shepard was a second-round pick out of the University of Oklahoma in 2016. He has 362 catches for 4,038 yards and 22 receiving touchdowns with the Giants.

Returning for an eighth season to the only professional home he has known means something.

"This organization has been really good to me throughout my playing career, and some of the stuff that's happened over the years," Shepard said. "I'm grateful and thankful, and I try to give this organization everything I've got just for those reasons."