Before each of his high school games, Sterling Shepard would watch a highlight reel of one NFL player to get himself pumped up and excited for the contest.
That player was Brandon Marshall, his new teammate.
“I was a big fan of Brandon’s when I was young,” Shepard said on Tuesday. “I told him already. I got my step-back move from him . . . It’s pretty crazy to think about it.”
It may not seem like a perfect player for Shepard to model himself after. Marshall is 6-4 and Shepard is, well, not. But Shepard said that the two have a lot in common, even if their body types are not among the similarities.
“You want to be physical going up to get the ball and I’m put in that situation a lot,” Shepard said. “He’s already up there. It doesn’t take him much to get up there.”
Shepard said it was nice to get to know Marshall at workouts at Duke earlier this month organized by Eli Manning. And the two were together at the start of the offseason training program on Tuesday.
“He’s been talking to me, giving me insight, being that veteran leader that he is,” Shepard said. “He’s teaching me a lot for the short time I’ve known him.”
Shepard also said he thinks Marshall will add a key missing ingredient to the Giants offense.
“We have a big receiver now,” he said. “I think it should definitely show up in the red zone, that’s definitely where it should show up. We didn’t capitalize all the times, we didn’t get six points on the board when we should have. Having a big target like that and a lot of attention on Odell [Beckham Jr.], that leaves him one-on-one and leaves me one-on-one as well. It’s gonna be pretty hard, pretty tough, to defend that.”
Owa back to football
Defensive end Owa Odighizuwa was with the Giants for the start of the offseason training program on Tuesday despite some cryptic tweets earlier this month that seemed to suggest he was going to quit football. Fellow defensive end Romeo Okwara said he reached out to Odighizuwa at the time and was glad to see him on Tuesday.
“I just let him know I was here if he needs anything,” Okwara said. “You never know what people are struggling with, you never know the full story, so I just reached out and let him know I was there for him.”
Okwara said it was “absolutely” good to see Odighizuwa on Tuesday.
One other teammate from last year Okwara did not see on Tuesday was defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who signed with the Colts last week.
“Hank was one of the first guys when I got here to take me under his wing,” Okwara said. “He had a couple of younger d-linemen out, when I first got here, to dinner at his house. But it just shows the nature of the game. Anything can happen, especially in the offseason when guys are fighting for contracts. It just puts things in perspective.”
Defensive end Kerry Wynn signed his RFA tender worth $1.797 million, according to ESPN, and participated in workouts with the Giants on Tuesday. Wynn had recently visited with the Patriots . . . The Giants will play their first season since 2010 without Victor Cruz on the roster. “I think because my dad, he was in the NFL and he bounced around to a lot of teams, so I knew that was the nature of the game, the nature of the business,” Shepard said of the shock of showing up to work without Cruz. “It’s tough because you kind of form a brotherhood and to have one of your brothers not be in the room with you is kind of weird. But like I said, I know that’s the nature of this thing, so we just have to move on and keep going,” . . . Shepard and Okwara spoke at the Fashion Institute of Technology on Tuesday, where the winning designs of the NFLxFIT Visual System Design Contest were announced. They each wore a T-shirt at the event with one of the finalists for the Giants designs . . . Shepard’s girlfriend, model Chanel Iman, who knows a few things about fashion, said she has tried to expose the wide receiver to more clothing styles. Asked to describe his fashion sense when they first met, she said: “Very Oklahoma.”