The Green Bay Packers’ secondary took a big hit during week one of the 2016 season. Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Shields suffered a concussion in that game, an injury that effectively ended his NFL career.
Or so we thought.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Shields is officially on the comeback trail, and he will begin meeting with teams this week. The Browns, unsurprisingly, are one of the first teams that will meet with him; former Packers executives John Dorsey, Eliot Wolf, and Alonzo Highsmith are all in Cleveland’s front office now, and Highsmith himself scouted Shields during his college football days at the University of Miami.
The Packers released Shields early last offseason after he was not cleared to return to football during the entire 2016 season.
For all of Shields’ success in the NFL, he never played all 16 games in a single season. He did suit up for at least 14 contests in four out of his seven years in the NFL, but played in twelve, ten, and one games in the other years. However, he did record multiple interceptions in every season except 2016, and he had double-digit pass breakups in five campaigns.
Shields addressed his status in a Q&A with Packersnews.com’s Michael Cohen in February, acknowledging that the lingering question for him will be his concussion history. He suffered at least four in a Green Bay uniform, including the apparent career-ending injury in 2016 and another one in 2015 that kept him out for a month. He will need to convince NFL teams and their medical staffs that he is not at greater risk for further injury if he is to land on a roster this offseason.