Sterling Shepard will be back on the field Sunday. That’s the good news.
Now the scary news: The Giants wide receiver said Friday that he continued to play in the season-opening loss to the Cowboys despite being pretty sure he had suffered a concussion.
“They tried to send someone in for me. I just kind of waved him off,” Shepard said when he talked to the media for the first time since suffering the injury. “It was ultimately my decision, I guess you say, and I just stayed in . . . It took me a few plays, but yeah, I eventually started feeling OK.”
Shepard was asked if he realized he had suffered a concussion. “Yeah, I was pretty sure it was a concussion . . . How do I weigh that? It was an at-the-moment decision. I felt like I wanted to stay in and help my boys out, so that is what I did.”
Shepard suffered the concussion in the third quarter when he ran into cornerback Anthony Brown. Shepard grabbed his head and fell backward to the ground, clearly staggered. Though he struggled to get up, he told his replacements he wanted to play and ended up finishing the game.
The NFL and NFLPA jointly are investigating what kind of breach in protocol allowed the receiver to continue playing with an undiagnosed concussion.
All NFL contests have two trainers and an independent neurologist in a booth watching the game and its broadcast for signs of players with concussions, along with all of the medical staff on the sideline for each team. No one recognized Shepard’s injury, stopped the game to remove him or administered a concussion test on the sideline.
Shepard entered the league’s concussion protocol the day after the game and sat out Sunday’s loss to the Bills.
He was cleared on Thursday from the five-stage protocol and is set to be on the field Sunday in Tampa.
Shepard said it took him more than a week to begin feeling like himself again.
“All the testing that I did, I passed the day after my concussion,” he said. “It was just the way I was feeling. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent. I wasn’t feeling all the way there. It was a decision I had to make for myself when I felt healthy.”
Giants coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters after practice Friday before Shepard confirmed to reporters that he had played with the concussion. Shurmur said last week that Shepard didn’t let the coaching staff know how he was feeling until after the game in the locker room.
He was asked Friday if, in light of the NFL’s investigation, he had learned anything about how a concussed player was allowed to stay on the field.
“I have nothing to add to that,” Shurmur said. “That’s something that’s going on behind the scenes.”
Notes & quotes: Wide receiver Cody Latimer, who suffered a concussion against the Bills, will not play Sunday against the Buccaneers. Wide receiver Bennie Fowler (hamstring) is questionable.