Packers 2016 Recap: CB Sam Shields

Packers 2016 Recap: CB Sam Shields

2016 Stats

  • Appeared in 1 game
  • 3 tackles
  • Pro Football Focus: 38.3/100

Expectations going into the season: Moderate
Expectations were: Incomplete

Analysis: Another concussion puts Shields football career in question

Cornerback Sam Shields and safety Nick Collins have a lot in common. Both were given long odds to make it in the NFL. Collins was from small school Bethune-Cookman and Shields converted from wide receiver to cornerback in his senior season at Miami. Now, both may be sent from the NFL because of career-ending injuries.

Sam Shields’ fifth documented concussion of his football career and second in two years ended his 2016 season in Week One. It was his second consecutive game where he left with a concussion.

Most concussions can be spotted from your living room on the couch. A receiver takes a big hit from a safety after going for a ball over the middle of the field. A linebacker smacks his helmet against the running back’s helmet while trying to bring him down.

Both concussions happened on a normal, routine play. Colliding with Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon’s shoulder, Shields went down and needed medical attention. Against Dallas in Week Thirteen last year, he was trying to make a play on Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead and knocked his head on the Lambeau Field turf. 

Against Dallas, Shields said he blacked out after hitting his head and suffered from headaches for weeks afterward. The Packers were tight-lipped about Shields, though a mid-October Instagram post stated the cornerback was trying to return to the field this season.

“The plan for Sam is to get him healthy, No. 1,” head coach Mike McCarthy said after Shields was placed on season-ending injured reserve. “It's going to be longer than we might have expected. Just going off the last conversation I've had with Sam, it's just important to go one day at a time and make sure we get him healthy.”

The Packers secondary suffered and struggled mightily without their star corner. Near the trade deadline, Green Bay was rumored to have inquired with Cleveland on the availability of former cornerback Tramon Williams, though the two sides did not make a deal. 

This offseason will be full of discussion regarding the football future of Shields. At 28 years old, he will be entering the final year of a four-year, $39 million contract. In 2017, he is due $9 million. If he does choose to retire, the Packers will be out from under their obligation to pay Shields.

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