CHICAGO – It’s a strange thing to say after such a deflating and dispiriting game, but Sterling Shepard said he felt “great” after the 19-14 loss to the Bears.
He wasn’t talking about the result, of course. Shepard played in a game for the first time since Week 5, having missed five games with his second concussion of the season. He was cleared to return on Friday and wound up catching five passes for 15 yards on Sunday. He also had a 22-yard run.
It had looked as if Shepard was going to return several weeks ago. He even was cleared from the concussion protocol before the game against the Cowboys in Week 9. But two days before that game his symptoms returned and he was placed back into the protocol.
“I felt like I needed to let them know instead of pushing myself out there,” Shepard told Newsday of the decision to alert the Giants to his symptoms with such proximity to a game in which he was expecting to play.
He may have been tempted to not tell anyone how he was feeling and play anyway. That’s essentially what he did in the Week 1 game against the Cowboys when he was knocked out cold and stayed in the game.
“I have to be smart in this situation,” he said of his ultimate decision to speak up. “But I’m happy I’m over it and I want to just move on from that and get back out there playing with my boys. That’s it.”
Shepard, speaking for the first time since he returned to the protocol for the third time this season, visited concussion experts in Pittsburgh after those symptoms returned.
“It was all good things,” he said of what he was told by doctors there. “I’m not going to go into specifics, but it was all good things with the doctor. The long-term stuff is out of the picture and that’s all I wanted to hear, ultimately.”
And so he returned this week. He looked a little rusty after the long layoff, and certainly he wishes the Giants could have pulled out a win. But in terms of his concussions, the day could not have gone any better for Shepard.
“I feel great,” he said. “One hundred percent. It’s a good feeling.”